GGC wins third national championship in database design

Trophy among several as college expands its IT winning streak

AITP student winners

AITP student winners

Faculty advisors and members of GGC’s student AITP chapter attending the national conference included (first row): Dr. Lissa Pollacia, Johanna Timmer, Raquel Lawrence, Matt Berger, Alejandro Guzman, Katherine Copas, Juan Lopez, Dr. Evelyn Brannock, (back row) Dr. Shuting Xu, Cory Johnson, Jonathan Mayran, Ryan Muhlbauer, Samuel Allen and John Rose. Not shown is Quan Tran.

Information technology (IT) majors at Georgia Gwinnett College continued their record of award-winning performances at two recent conferences that included national and regional academic competitions. 

At the 2016 Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) National Collegiate Conference, held this year in Chicago, GGC earned its third national championship in database design. The winning team included graduating seniors Matt Berger of Loganville and Alejandro Guzman of Sugar Hill. GGC previously won in 2013 and 2015.

Berger and Raquel Lawrence, ’16, of Lawrenceville won the fourth-place trophy in Java Development. Katherine Copas, ’17, of Bogart won second in graphic design. 

Twelve GGC competitors participated in the competitions at the conference. They faced about 61student AITP chapters with more than 530 student members representing colleges and universities throughout the US and Canada.
“We compete against the top IT programs in the nation, and so far, our students have established an amazing competition record over the past few years,” said Dr. Evelyn Brannock, assistant professor of information technology. “This is something you’d expect from major universities and technical colleges, not a program as young as ours. This speaks to the high quality of our IT program and our students’ hard work and competitive spirits.”
Brannock, Dr. Lissa Pollacia, professor of information technology, and Dr. Shuting Xu, associate professor of information technology, all co-advisers to AITP, prepared the students for weeks before the competition, often after hours and on weekends. The competitions are designed for students planning careers in IT or related fields. In addition to the competitions, student conference attendees may also earn various IT certifications, many required by employers for whom the students may work after graduation.

“We have a trophy case already filled with multiple awards in the IT field. In addition to our ‘three-peat’ national championships in database design, previous AITP teams won national championships in Java programming and mobile application, and placed for several other national trophies,” said Dr. Thomas Mundie, dean of the School of Science and Technology. “We have quickly built a program of excellence in IT, and I could not be more proud of our students and faculty.” 

Two students holding plaques

Timothy Kyle Brooks and Estephanie Gonzalez

GGC students Timothy Kyle Brooks and Estephanie Gonzalez proudly display their first-place award received at the CCSC – Central Plains research poster competition. Not shown are their teammates, Joshua Broughton and Aaron Knobloch.

In addition to the AITP competition, students also won recognition at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC) Central Plains conference, held at Missouri Western University in St. Joseph. CCSC conferences are held in cooperation with the Association of Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. Competitions are held in a variety of computer science areas.
Brannock and Dr. Robert Lutz, assistant professor of information technology, advised four students who participated in the conference, representing GGC there for the first time. 

As part of a multi-semester undergraduate research experience, the students had won acceptance of a research project in the conference’s competition. They took first place honors in the Student Research Poster Contest for their work, “The Zeroth Person: Building an Immersive 3D Audio and Visual Experience.” The team included Timothy Kyle Brooks, ’17, of Monroe; Joshua Broughton, ’17, of Tucker; Aaron Knobloch,’17, of Lawrenceville and Estephanie Gonzalez, ’19, of West Paterson, New Jersey.
Brooks and Knobloch also placed second in the Programming Contest.

In these two competitions, the GGC students were up against almost 50 teams, many representing major universities. 
“External recognition of GGC’s IT students in multiple areas, such as database, research, digital media and programming/software development in multiple competitions against much larger and older institutions is awe inspiring,” Brannock said. “We are so very proud of our students. These experiences will help them go far in their careers.” 

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