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May 10, 2013
Four teams of 14 graduate students at Northwest Missouri State University spent the spring trimester perfecting software development projects aimed at easing a variety of processes, and one team was recognized for producing the best project during an annual contest sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light.
The winning project, a mobile phone app called MyWedding, enables a couple to plan their wedding and track related information such as invitations, photos and registries.
The app was designed by Krishna Sameera Kamma, Pranitha Ramineni, Shravya Oddiraju, Shravani Chigullapally and Hey Krishna Bharat Karumanchi. The students hail from India, and all of them except Chigullapally recently completed their Master of Science degrees at Northwest in applied computer science.
Students presented the projects to a panel of representatives from KCP&L April 25, and winners were announced at a reception afterward. Each participating team submitted an executive summary of their project and made a formal 20-minute presentation to the panel. Prize money totaling $1,000 was divided among the 14 participants.
The second prize was awarded to Aviation, an application developed for pilots to access weather data at airports, including temperature and wind speeds. The application also is designed to show hazards such as turbulence and icing in the atmosphere.
Two projects, Scholarlink and Sustainability, tied for third place. Scholarlink enables high school students to store information commonly needed for scholarship applications, such as ACT scores, grade-point average and class rank. The application also can track scholarships for which the user is eligible. Sustainability is a piece of software designed for Northwest Facility Services to track the amount of waste it takes to its local landfill as well as the money it saves and generates by recycling certain types of waste.
To be successful with their projects, students had to meet regularly with the professional clients they were serving. The teams also learned varied software and tools they were previously unfamiliar with in order to ensure their projects’ usefulness.
The team behind MyWedding did just that by redesigning the app, which already was available to iPhones and redesigned for Android phones.
“They showed a lot of time and dedication to make it work,” said Anthony Belcher, a helpdesk analyst at KCP&L and a 2009 Northwest alumnus. “They explained to us some of the complications they had in making some of the technology work well together, and the overall product just looked very good. It was impressive to see an app like that.”
Judges praised all of the teams for taking on challenging projects and noted the students had to leverage each other’s skills to bring all of the pieces together. Students incorporated not only their software development skills, but their project management skills as well.
“It’s good to see the students are learning new things every day,” Belcher said. “With technology, it’s always changing. It’s good to see they can overcome some of the difficult things they find and develop ways to make it work. We like to see that in potential employees, and we really enjoy working with Northwest and the hardworking students here.”
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 the competition for teams of students who are completing their second trimester of the department’s graduate-directed project course.
By participating in the competition students also received face-to-face time with computing professionals who are recruiting interns and future employees.
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