Friendly Competition

PROVO, Utah – May 16, 2017 – College students from around the world gathered on BYU’s home turf recently to both compete and work together at the annual Association for Information Systems conference.

Students from the BYU Department of Information Systems again excelled in the various AIS conference competitions, including a first-place finish in the security case competition. First-year MISM students Drake Loud from Liberty, Utah, and Jason Smith from Forest Grove, Oregon; joined IS juniors Matt Rose from West Des Moines, Iowa; Remington Steele from Bloomfield, New York; and Dylan Eastman from Enoch, Utah, on the winning team.

A BYU IS student group also took second place in the same event thanks to the efforts of Grant Dexter, an IS senior from Shelley, Idaho; John Lim, an IS junior from Renton, Washington; Ben Nelson, an IS junior from Nampa, Idaho; Andrew Sanford, a first-year MISM student from Pleasant Grove, Utah; and Brent Smith, a second-year MISM student from Smithville, Missouri.

“We wanted to represent BYU well, especially since we were the hosts,” Smith says. “We wanted to prove that we aren’t just good hosts, we’re also good competitors.”

Another noteworthy feat for BYU was a second place finish in the video competition by Matt Brown, an IS junior from Vancouver, Washington; Alex Pratt, an IS junior from Fountain Valley, California; and Steele.

“It’s really a combination of the students plus the curriculum that helps them be prepared,” says Tom Meservy, IS associate teaching professor. “I love taking our students to these competitions because they get validated and get to see how they stack up against the nation.”

For BYU, however, this year’s conference was about more than just the competitions. The BYU IS department hosted multiple events throughout the course of the week, including a kickoff activity at a ropes course to teach team building and to enable students from various schools to get to know each other.

“This is the eighth year of AIS student chapter conferences, and by far this year at BYU was the absolute best,” says Lise Urbaczewski, faculty advisor for the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “I brought sixteen students, and they all loved the experience. Their only complaint was they couldn't stay longer or go back and do more of the activities!”

In addition to the ropes course, teams spent time generating service project ideas that will be implemented this year, and the BYU AIS chapter students took the other schools on a tech tour through Utah Valley, showcasing companies such as Adobe, Domo, Qualtrics, and Vivint.

“Most people had never been to Utah, and they didn’t know what tech companies we have here,” Smith says. “I think we surprised them with the number and size of the companies.”

These additional activities and interactions made the experience at this year’s AIS conference not only a great place to compete but also to foster good relationships and respect.

“One of the greatest joys in life, I think, is the ability to teach someone something new, or to give someone an experience they hadn’t had before,” Meservy says. “And there were a couple distinct times when I saw that going on from our students sharing what they do and what they experience here at BYU.”

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Students participate in a classroom activity at the AIS conference
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Students participated in various team-building activities at the AIS conference.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Tessa Haas