AITP Students Bring Home Awards



Kalamazoo Valley Community College instructor Dawn Pantaleo, assistant Jason Kovacs, and a group of students recently traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for the annual Association of Information Technology Professionals conference. The AITP students took first place in the professional banner design and third place in the casual t-shirt design event. They also placed third in the Association of Information Technology Professionals' year-long web project. The Kalamazoo Valley team designed a website for the Southwest Michigan Society for the Prevention of Abuse in Animals.

Student participants included Robert VanBeck, Jeremy Dyche, Kurt Schreppel, David Wilkinson, Marc Hodges, Hedilberto Gomez, Jim Strickland, John Lotz, and Leta Arnold. More than 700 other students and instructors attended this year’s event. The group heard a keynote panel of Information Technology professionals, attended breakout sessions, participated in certification reviews and testing, attended competitions, a job fair, and an awards banquet.

Kurt Schreppel was the project manager for the web project. Marc Hodges and David Wilkinson were developers and Leta Arnold was the technical writer and designer.  Jason Kovacs, assistant AITP Advisor, was the supervisor for the year-long project. The group met weekly throughout the year. David Barnes, Kalamazoo Valley alumni who is now working on his masters at WMU, also provided consultation for the project.

The two top prizes were completed as part of a senior college project, a two-semester course. “As a community college, we did really well,” Pantaleo said. She explained that the website project was a redesign with major enhancements and the incorporation of a data base.

The banner and t-shirt projects that were submitted in this year’s contests are now on display outside of the computer lab at the Texas Township Campus.

Students Jeremy Dyche and John Lotz competed in a Visual Studio & Business Analytics contest and Jim Strickland competed in Visual Studio and Microsoft Office. In addition, Hedilberto Gomez achieved two certifications, an ICCP certification, which is a two- test certification - a core test and a specialty test.  His second certification in Security Fundamentals is through MTA.

Breakout sessions topics included job acquisition, public speaking, cloud computing, and marketing with social media. The group also took a tour of an IT incubator in downtown St. Louis.

“Our students also volunteered to set up and take down the computer labs that are used by the competitors and did an excellent job organizing the hardware for next year’s event,” Pantaleo said. “It was an excellent conference overall.”