Dec. 12, 2011
KCP&L awards students for computer technology research
By Brittany Keithley, media relations assistant
Four Northwest Missouri State University students earned cash prizes and some valuable presentation experience during the fourth annual CS/IS Research Paper Competition, sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light.
Michael McClanahan, a senior management information systems major from Denver, took the $350 first-place prize for his presentation titled, “Agile Development/Extreme Game Programming.”
Andrew Dickel, a senior computer science major from Green City, and Kayla Levan, a senior management information systems and business education double major from Kansas City, Mo., tied for second place and earned $250 each. Dickel gave a presentation about Stuxnet malware, and Levan presented about the ways cloud computing and open sourced software are revolutionizing business practices in the software industry.
Amanda Werner, a senior English and computer science double major from St. Louis, took the $150 third-place prize for her presentation about cloud computing.
The winners were announced Thursday, Dec. 8, during a reception at Northwest.
The competition was open to students in the University's courses in software engineering and systems analysis and design. Students were assigned a research paper and given the option of submitting it for the annual research contest. A panel of faculty members in Northwest's Department of Computer Science and Information Systems conducted a blind review of the papers. Four finalists were then selected to present their papers to a panel of judges from KCP&L.
Shan Lynn, manager of enterprise system support for KCP&L, said the panel is repeatedly impressed by the presentations Northwest students give at the annual competition, and this year there was little difference in quality between the third-place and first-place finishers.
Lynn credited the students’ instructors, saying it is the instructors’ work that puts the students in a position to perform at high levels.
Lynn said the judges chose McClanahan as this year’s winner because he showed a thorough understanding of his topic and his presentation skills were strong. McClanahan said the motive behind his presentation differed from the other students because he was passionate about the topic.
“I chose extreme programming and game development because I want to work in the game development industry and thought the best way to break into the industry is being very knowledgeable about it,” McClanahan said.
Though the students were awarded a cash prize they also walked away with invaluable presentation experience.
Levan called the opportunity invigorating and said he liked the challenge of having to write an eight-page research paper and converting it into something fun and interesting for people to learn about.
Werner said the opportunity to present was beneficial because it was an opportunity for her to speak in front of a crowd of influential people. With the added stakes on the table, she appreciated the opportunity to give a presentation for competition.
“I think it is a really great way for KCP&L to get their name out there and give back to the University,” Werner said. “It’s a really wonderful effort on their part, and I think it’s wonderful they sponsor this opportunity for us.”
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