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UCM Victorious, Captures Special Award in KC Federal Reserve Code-A-Thon

By Jeff Murphy, October 30, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – Using their technology skills in a competition with students from 15 other Midwestern colleges and universities, two teams from the University of Central Missouri captured first and second place in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s Code-A-Thon. Awards were presented during a final competitive event last week among the three top performing teams.

The entirely online competition took place the weekend of Oct. 13-15, and included for the first time two five-member teams from the UCM campus in Warrensburg one with UCM students who are enrolled in The Missouri Innovation Campus program. The two teams from the Warrensburg campus, identified as Mules1 and Mules2, were named finalists and invited to participate in a second and final competitive event and award ceremony on Oct. 26.

First place went to Mules1, with team members Kyle Gorgas, Samantha Stanley, Marc Funston, Allen Anthes, and Demietrius Huff. Mules2 captured second place, and consisted of team members Tyler Hein, Adam Bairos, Ryan Evans, Justin Durham, and Michael Minzey. A five-member student team from Kansas State University finished third, rounding out the top three finishers.

In addition to these honors, UCM received a special award in recognition for outstanding institutional support, according to Belinda Copus, assistant professor of computer science who was one of four UCM faculty mentors for UCM and MIC participating teams.

“It took a lot of institutional support to make this happen,” Copus said. She noted that such assistance ranged from resources and assistance provided by the Office of Technology to faculty members ensuring computer lab facilities were available over a 48-hour period and providing food for student team members.

During the competition, each team was challenged to address an issue based on the theme, “Campus to Corporate,” the transition graduates make from college to the professional environment.

The Mules1 team considered the impact social media can have on a recent graduate’s job search as many employers may look at how the employee uses tools such as Twitter and Facebook. Copus said this group devised an application that would help individuals “sanitize” their social media accounts to ensure old posts and other items that could negatively affect their job search are eliminated.

Mules2 considered the need for graduates who are seeking jobs to be able to learn more about a company other than what may be found on that employer’s website. They created a website that job seekers could use as a safe place to anonymously ask questions from individuals who may have knowledge or concerns about the employer.

“They only had 48 hours, so they had to dig deep into their skills,” Copus said. “Some teams had to go out and learn about technologies they had never used before.”

The teams that were named finalists were required to make 10-minute presentations before a panel of judges, and they gave demonstrations of the applications they created. Winners were announced following those activities.

“Our students really did an amazing job. I’m proud of them,” Copus said.

 This was UCM’s first year of participation in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s Code-A-Thon. UCM teams included students at all undergraduate levels, students ranging from freshmen to seniors. In addition  to Copus, faculty mentors included Yui Man Lui, assistant professor of computer science; Hyung Bae Park, assistant professor of computer science; and Lisa Oyler, faculty member at The MIC.

Other schools that began the competition were: Creighton University,  Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Missouri Western State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Colorado – Denver, University of Kansas, University of Lincoln – Nebraska, Southwest Baptist University, University of Missouri – Columbia,  University of Missouri - Kansas City, and University of Nebraska – Omaha.


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