In October, the Information Technology and Cybersecurity (ITC) department hosted the regional U.S. Information Technology Collegiate Conference (USITCC).
Members of Missouri State University’s Association for Business Information Technology (A-BITS) team had the opportunity to showcase their industry knowledge, network and try their hand at event planning.
“It was a big learning experience for students,” said ITC interim department head Dr. Xiang Guo. “They organized and handled a lot of logistics for the conference including lodging, transportation, and events.”
Designing a competition
Missouri State faculty and students spent six months preparing for the weekend-long event, which took place Oct. 20-22.
“Everyone in the ITC department was on board to host the conference within five minutes of raising the question,” Guo said.
“We were all excited to start planning and for the opportunity to show what our program has to offer.”
They created a double-blind judging system and event questions in which students could apply their classroom skills to real-world challenges.
They modeled the problem statements after national USITCC events but narrowed the scope to fit the shorter timeframe. Industry partners helped in the creation and judging of the contests.
While the conference is not a qualifier for nationals, it gives students a glimpse of what competing at nationals will be like. Students competed in eight different IT areas for the conference.
Developing future leaders
A-BITS students planned a mixer, organized catering, and even implemented the competition server to ensure everything would run smoothly.
“There was some trial and error in developing the server that would work well for the different competitions,” said senior cybersecurity student Michael Talbot. “It was a great learning experience, and I enjoyed getting to test the system. I also made a backup server in one of our labs.”
Seventy-six students from seven universities across three states were represented at the conference.
Business Bears juggled their hosting duties with their own competition events and still took home the top performing school award.
“It was a busy weekend,” said Krista Alexander, senior cybersecurity student and A-BITS president. “I hopscotched between hosting and coordinating volunteers when I wasn’t competing.”
Alexander also designed the logos that went on programs and t-shirts for the conference.
“The other A-BITS officers contributed a lot to planning leading up to the event,” Alexander said. “They did everything from finding vendors, buying prizes, planning mixer event games and managing our budget.”
The conference hosted 27 faculty attendees and 11 event sponsors and exhibitors.
“Our sponsors and colleagues from other schools provided us with great feedback,” Guo said. “Several of my faculty members shared how they want to adapt their curriculum to meet industry needs based on what they learned over the weekend.”
Students also got to see how they stack up to competitors from different universities. They performed well even compared to larger R-1 universities, Guo explained.
Sponsors and exhibitors, including Kiewit and ConocoPhillips, set up informational tables for students to visit throughout the entire weekend.
“We’re really pleased with the event and our students’ performance,” Guo said. “It’s not just about winning. They showed off their professionalism and enthusiasm for their field as well.”
Congratulations to the team
Top performing school award
Missouri State University
MSU student winners
Application development (8 teams)
1st Brianna Thompson and Gabriel Fox
2nd Sara Slayton and Joshua Stiffler
3rd Jacob Renkoski and Noah Lawson
Business analytics (6 teams)
2nd Renkoski and Lawson
3rd Austin Jackson and Patrick Sikes
Database design (13 teams)
1st Roger Perry and Stiffler
Network design (9 teams)
1st Irina Palenko
PC Troubleshooting (52 contestants)
2nd Bradley Davidson
3rd Garret Giuliani
(Honorable mentions: Renkowski, Zachary Frey, Sikes, Connor Wilkins, Alexander, Thompson)
Security (51 contestants)
(Honorable mentions: Stiffler, Palenko, Davidson, Cole Mazeitis, Jackson Luu)
System analysis and design (15 teams)
2nd Slayton and Alexandra Thies
3rd Renkowski and Lawson