GGC students win three national championships in IT competition

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Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) information technology (IT) majors won three national championships at the U.S. Information Technology Collegiate Conference (USITCC) held recently in San Antonio, Texas. 

Produced by the Foundation for IT Education, the USITCC includes nine technical competitions through which students can test their skills against the nation’s best and brightest in the IT and computer science fields. These competitions were formerly offered by the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) at its annual national conference, and GGC’s student chapter of AITP had an impressive winning record in previous conference competitions.

GGC’s students continued that winning record at this year’s inaugural USITCC.  Bess Burnett, ’18, and Daniel Sales, ’19, won the national trophy in the mobile application development category, while Michael Strickland, ’19, won the national title in the security category.

GGC dominated in the database design category. Steven Beteag, ’18, and Jarrod Bailey, ’20, placed fourth, while Neal Klemenc, ’18, and Joseph Tsegaye, ’18, placed third and Bess Burnett, ’18, and Johanna Timmer, ’18, took second place. Chelsea D’Alessandro, ’18, and Robert Strong, ’18, won first to take the national championship.

“In more than 30 years of competitions, no other school has swept all four places in a single competition category,” said Lissa Pollacia, assistant dean and professor of information technology in GGC’s School of Science and Technology. “While we have won several national championships in past years, this is the first time GGC has won the national championship in one third of the competition categories.” 

This is the fourth national championship GGC has won in the database design category in less than a decade of the college’s participation.

The students’ performance also earned GGC the first Top Performing School Award, a new trophy introduced at this year’s competition.
 
“Our AITP student members won Georgia Gwinnett College’s first-ever national championship several years ago, and they have continued to make us proud,” said GGC President Stas Preczewski. “To do well in such a competition is impressive, but to continue to win top honors illustrates the sustained excellence of our IT students, faculty and curriculum.”

Pollacia noted the support provided by AITP advisors and IT faculty, Dr. Evelyn Brannock, assistant professor, and Dr. Shuting Xu, associate professor, who provided coaching for student competition practice and preparation, which can take several months.  

“It takes a team effort with our students to develop their IT talents and skills, and such competitions are great opportunities for them to shine under challenging situations,” Pollacia said. “We are so very happy for them and appreciative of the national validation their awards bring to our IT program.”

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