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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

Pictured left to right are Northwest students Duncan Kelly, Bradley Meek and Doug Wettlaufer with KCP&L's Yuvonnis Thurmond. The students were the top three winners in KCP&L's CS/IS Research Paper Competition at Northwest. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Pictured left to right are Northwest students Duncan Kelly, Bradley Meek and Doug Wettlaufer with KCP&L's Yuvonnis Thurmond. The students were the top three winners in KCP&L's CS/IS Research Paper Competition at Northwest. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Dec. 5, 2013

KCP&L awards students for computer technology research

Six Northwest Missouri State University students earned cash prizes and valuable presentation experience Dec. 4 during the sixth annual CS/IS Research Paper Competition, sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light.

Doug Wettlaufer, a senior computer science major from Atchison, Kan., earned first place and $400 for his presentation “Analysis Methods of Big Data,” which discussed the advantages of tools like Amazon’s recommendation system, Facebook Graph Search and other large databases.

Second place went to Bradley Meek, a senior computer science major from Kansas City, who received $250 for his presentation, “Licensing of Software Engineers,” which argued the need to grant professional licenses to software engineers.

Duncan Kelly, a junior computer science major from St. Genevieve, was awarded third place and $200 for his presentation, “Comparison of SQL and NoSQL Systems.” Kelly assessed the differences NoSQL databases offer over SQL systems and the use of metrics to decide the system that is best for the user’s situation.

The judging panel also awarded honorable mentions and $50 each to Will Trout, a senior management information systems major from Elkhorn, Neb., for his presentation, “Mobile applications vs. Web applications”; Charles Beckler, a senior management information systems major from Friend, Neb., for his presentation, “CAPTCHA”; and Grace Horvath, a junior computer science major from O’Fallon, for her presentation, “The Process of Choosing Introductory Programming Languages.”

The annual competition is open to students in the University’s software engineering and systems analysis and design courses . Students were assigned a research paper and given the option of submitting it for the research contest. A panel of faculty members in Northwest’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems conducted a blind review of the papers. Finalists were then selected to present their papers to a panel of judges from KCP&L.

“Any opportunity to present is one that I think students should take because you get more comfortable with yourself and it gives you a professional edge,” Horvath said.

KCP&L’s Yuvonnis Thurmond and Anthony Belcher represented the company on the judging panel. Thurmond earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Northwest in 1992 and is employed at KCP&L as a programmer analyst and project manager. Belcher earned his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Northwest in 2009 and works at KCP&L as interim supervisor for help desk and client services.

“Each year it gets more challenging to judge,” Thurmond said of the students’ presentations. “We thank the faculty and staff who coordinate this contest and allowing KCP&L the opportunity to sponsor the event.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468