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April 29, 2015
First place in KCPL's software development contest at Northwest was awarded to a student team that developed an internal app for Commerce Bank. Left to right are Jory Galloway, application programmer at KCPL; team leaders Anil Pamulapati and Madhavi Doddapaneni; and Anthony Belcher, a KCP&L help desk analyst.
Second place went to the team behind “Grants Tracking System.” Left to right are Jory Galloway, application programmer at KCPL; team leaders Naga Venkata Chaitanya Saladi, Kala Krishna Gouthami Gangu, and Majji, Arpita; and Anthony Belcher, a KCP&L help desk analyst.
Seven teams of graduate students at Northwest Missouri State University spent months building mobile applications aimed at assisting with a variety of tasks and activities, and three of those teams earned cash prizes for their efforts during an annual contest sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light.
Teams presented their completed apps April 22 to a judging panel from KCPL, which awarded first place to students who developed an internal application for Commerce Bank. The team earned a $500 cash prize for the app, which was designed to help the bank’s technical team update Commerce Bank webpages from mobile devices and replace an older platform.
Anthony Belcher, a KCP&L help desk analyst and 2009 Northwest alumnus, said the team designing the Commerce Bank app impressed the judges by acknowledging they had to learn new technologies to make the app operable.
“They showed us the struggles they went through,” Belcher said. “They had new technology put in front of them that they had to learn. They overcame it, and were able to deliver their project on time.”
Team members Anil Pamulapati and Madhavi Doddapaneni, who presented their team’s app to judges, said the experience will assist them as they look to launch their careers as software developers.
“Working on different technologies, I have the confidence that I can go and work with a client right now,” Pamulapati said. “Tomorrow, if we go into the market, it won’t be new for us. We know the requirements, we worked on it. We learned from this and it was a good experience.”
The other members of the winning team were Govardan Nayaki, Prashanth Reddy, Shravani Vujjini, Navya Koripella, Anusha Thedla, Madhavi Doddapaneni, Sindhu Reddy Macha, Sanjay Kumar Katta, and Venkata Bharath Kumar Padmanabhuni.
KCPL awarded a $300 second-place prize to the team behind “Grants Tracking System,” an app designed to better track grants that institutions receive and replace a manual spreadsheet system. The team, mentored by Dr. Ajay Bandi, assistant professor of computer science and information systems, consisted of Siva Sankar Mamidipalli, Bharadwaj Mandalaparthi, Arpita Majji, Kala Krishna Gouthami Gangu, Naga Venkata Chaitanya Saladi, Rupa Vankayalapati, Safura Harmain, Niharika Reddy Donthi, Anvesh Reddy Chintalapudi and Vikram Pruthvi.
Third place and a cash prize of $200 went to an app dubbed Hydrogen Ion Survival, which is designed to track the reflection rate and probability of a hydrogen ion’s ability to survive or be absorbed when it’s shot at metal. The app saves users significant time in comparison to calculating the survival rate manually.
Each participating team submits an executive summary for their project and makes a formal 20-minute presentation to the panel of judges. The prize money totaling $1,000 is then divided among the teams and awarded to participants during a reception.
To be successful with their projects, students must meet regularly with the professional clients they serve. The teams also learn varied software and tools they are previously unfamiliar with in order to ensure the usefulness of their application.
By participating in the competition, students also received face-to-face time with computing professionals who are recruiting interns and future employees.
“All three of teams showed us examples of people we would want to hire,” Belcher said. “They presented themselves well and they worked well as a team.”
Since the fall of 2008, KCP&L has sponsored an undergraduate research competition for students in Northwest's Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Systems. In spring 2010, KCP&L initiated a second competition for teams of students who are completing their second trimester of the department’s graduate-directed project course.
The competition is voluntary and open to teams completing projects during the spring trimester. The two-trimester software development projects are required for students working toward the master's degree in applied computer science.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468