BYU Marriott Students Win Big at AIS Competitions

PROVO, Utah – Nov 06, 2019 – BYU Marriott information systems students, supported by faculty and armed with experiential knowledge, took home first- and second-place finishes at the tenth annual Association for Information Systems Student Chapter Leadership Conference. 

Led by BYU Marriott information systems associate professor Tom Meservy, eight students traveled to Temple University in Philadelphia to attend the conference where they had the opportunity to network with students, engage with industry experts, explore the city, and showcase their knowledge at various competitions.

One team took first place after designing a blockchain to help farmers in developing countries certify their farms as organic, sustainable, and ethically grown. The team was comprised of senior Autumn Clark from Cardston, Alberta, and MISM students Eric Clinger, from Idaho Falls, Idaho; Kyle Finneman from South Jordan, Utah; Caleb Olson from Sammamish, Washington; and Nicole Tucker from Lindon, Utah.

“The information systems program helped us see that this problem is more than just technology but a problem that involved the lives of thousands of hardworking individuals around the world,” says Clinger. “The program infuses the message of ‘Go forth to serve’ to help us see the value of using our technology and business skills to help other people.”

Tucker attributes the majority of the team’s success to the IS program at BYU Marriott. “The program has connected me with the best people, equipped me with skills the industry is desperate for right now, and built confidence in myself as a software developer,” she says.

Another first-place finish came from Clark, Olson, and senior Josh Smith from Highland, Utah, who won the computational-case-study portion of the competition. The case study focused on the social use of computers and the way artificial intelligence affects communication.

“The IS program is the perfect balance of soft and hard skills and helped my team and I gain a depth of understanding in development, system design, analytics, security, networking, and other technical concepts,” says Smith. “We were also helped all along the way by talented and incredibly knowledgeable professors who supported us and cheered for our success.”

Clark and Smith also joined MISM student Alex Spruill from Idaho Falls, Idaho and 2019 information systems graduate Rachel Davis from Draper, Utah, to place second in the software innovation competition. The challenge involved creating an app based on one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, one of which is good health and well-being. With this goal in mind, the team coded an app that allows users to make small lifestyle changes to help battle depression.

The conference hosted more than one hundred eighty students and faculty from thirty-three different schools worldwide. Nine workshops and panels led and organized by students were held focusing on topics such as women in IT, ethical hacking, chapter leadership, alumni engagement, 3-D printing, and location analytics.

Clark participated in a student panel led by all women discussing tips and best practices to perform at competitions. “Not only was it an honor to meet and speak alongside the other panelists, but it is amazing to be a part of three teams that placed in the competitions, with two of them taking first place,” Clark says.

“The rigorous and applied nature of the information systems core and other classes at BYU Marriott prepares students to not only systematically analyze and apply what they have learned in their classes but to do so in a polished and professional way,” says Meservy. “While success at these competitions is a clear indicator of talent and ability, what impresses me most about our IS students is their collaborative nature and their goodness in helping each other succeed.”

BYU Marriott is proud of these students’ outstanding performance at this year’s conference. “This is just one more indication of the high-caliber students and faculty at BYU Marriott,” says Bonnie Anderson, department chair and professor of information systems.

BYU Marriott information systems students who attended the Annual Association for Information Systems Student Chapter Leadership Conference.
BYU Marriott information systems students who attended the Annual Association for Information Systems Student Chapter Leadership Conference. Photo courtesy of Tom Meservy.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kate Monroe