**For Immediate Release**
Programming Team Earns National Title
- released by OPSU Campus Communications 04-09-2008
By Laura Hays
Goodwell, Okla. -- During March 27-29 in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve Oklahoma Panhandle State University students competed at the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) 13th Annual Contest. Seven of those OPSU students placed in the national ranks and proved that technology students from a small, rural school possess wide-ranging, well-developed skills. According to Diane Murphey, dean of the School of Business and one of the programming team’s advisors, “Since 1998, our OPSU team boasts 52 of the top ten finishers in regional and national AITP competitions.” That’s no small feat considering they face competition against much larger schools such as the University of Mississippi, Purdue, the University of Alaska, and Southwest Baptist University. This year, a total of 78 colleges and universities were represented at the national meet.
The team of Zach Waugh and Nick Tuttle took first place in the Business Intelligence contest. Using specialized software, the duo disseminated many layers of supplied information such as census data, building construction costs, physical location, and traffic patterns to determine three ideal locations for a specific retail business. Waugh and Tuttle combined their computer, business, and analytical skills to define and defend their decisions and their efforts won them the top spot.
Jesse Gill and Blake Davis teamed up in the Data Center/Blade Server competition and won 3rd overall and Waugh and Tuttle also competed in this event and won an Honorable Mention. In only 3 hours time, the teams researched and prepared a paper and presentation comparing and contrasting the two technologies. Murphey said, “I was proud of these students for entering a competition in which most college students have limited exposure. They all had the self-confidence to attempt a research challenge in a new field and ended up claiming two of the top spots!”
Jake Luera, Clancy Green, Nick Tuttle, and Michal Stachowski won Honorable Mention in Application Development. The teams are presented a programming problem and may choose any programming language or operating environment to use to solve the problem. This tough contest always has the largest field of entrants and inspires spirited competition, and being among the top teams is a coveted honor.
At last year’s national competition, the Visual Communications team of J. B. Test, Micah Donaldson, Nick Tuttle and Karen Britten brought home first place honors. Donaldson and Test were also supporting members of this year’s team in addition to Kevin Miller, Samuel Samson and Blake Westbrook. Murphey and Joe Breeden, CIS instructor, attended as faculty sponsors.
The AITP conference also offers students the opportunity to attend a job fair to meet potential employers and provides the chance for them to network with IT professionals and students from other universities. The OPSU students also toured the Gibson Guitar Factory as well as an historical park on the banks of the Mississippi River.
The OPSU students managed to put aside the many lures of Memphis long enough to confirm their mastery of information technology. Even though their winning ways are well-established, the competitors continue to bring home trophies. They confirm what many professionals in the industry already know: These students remain among the most well-educated and well-prepared computer information systems students in the entire country.