April 22, 2015 at 4:00pm

Millikin Information Systems students garner accolades at case competition

Millikin University students were recognized for their efforts at the 2015 Information Systems (IS) Project and Case Competition held April 10-12 at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Two teams of four Millikin IS students competed against 14 teams for the best real-world IS project, project presentation, and best IS case analysis.

Millikin earned 2nd place in the IS Case Competition and 3rd place for Best Project Presentation.

During the project presentations, one team of Millikin students presented their client project from last semester's database development course. As part of the project, the students delivered a working database application for BabyTALK to track donor activity. Based in Decatur, Ill., BabyTALK is a community family support agency, which provides the framework to guide parent educators in nurturing school readiness and optimal child development by supporting infants and toddlers and their parents. The Millikin database team earned 3rd place honors for their presentation.

The database team included the following students: Kenneth Albin, a senior finance major from Danville, Ill., Kort Branscome, a junior information systems major from Greenville, Ill., Heather Nigh, a junior accounting major from Thomasboro, Ill., and Taylor Wilson, a junior information systems major from Decatur, Ill.

"IS departments have been doing client projects for years '€“ it's the best way for students to gain experience," said RJ Podeschi, Millikin assistant professor of information systems. "But there's something we do at Millikin that is fundamentally different, and I have to think it's the level of coaching and mentoring that we do as faculty. Our students connect the dots to what they're doing and they understand why they're doing it."" 

The second team of Millikin students presented their client project from their analysis and web development courses. The students developed a dynamic, data-driven Millikin University organizational chart to be implemented in the myMillikin intranet system in 2015. The project was a collaborative effort between the students and Millikin University's Human Resources and Information Technology (IT) Departments.

The organizational chart team included the following students: Peyton Munch, a junior accounting major from Loves Park, Ill., Taylor Sanders, a senior information systems major from Marshall, Ill., Alex Tueth, a senior accounting major from Decatur, Ill., and Kameron Wilkins, a senior entrepreneurship major from Iuka, Ill.

Students were evaluated by a panel of five judges who all work as IT professionals or IT consultants in industry.

"After all the hard work we put in last semester, it was very satisfying to present the organizational chart project," said Taylor Sanders. "To represent Millikin and to show top level executives from multiple companies and other schools our work was a great experience."

During the case analysis competition, all teams were provided a case to analyze and provide a solution for, and then present their solutions to a panel of judges. Millikin's organizational chart team received 2nd place honors for their work during the competition.

Taylor Wilson added, "It was great to be able to get in front of a panel of professionals and receive feedback. The competition allowed us to see what it was like to present a real solution to a company's problem, and we did a great job of thoroughly answering all the questions from the panel and thinking on our feet."

The Information Systems Project and Case Competition serves as a venue for students to showcase projects that were completed earlier in their undergraduate careers as well as to utilize skills previously learned by solving a case study. This year's competition also gave students the opportunity to interact and network with individuals from several companies. Other institutions that participated in the competition included the University of Southern Indiana, Purdue University-Calumet, University of Toledo, University of Akron and Marietta College.

"It was a great experience and I think the students represented Millikin exceedingly well," said Ed Weber, Millikin assistant professor of information systems. "The students also recognized the opportunity of the learning experience above and beyond just the competition."