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story.lead_photo.caption Janelle Jessen/Herald-Leader Haas Hall Academy students Meso Ata, Andrew Younger and Sal Sirigineedi worked on a problem during the 2018 Programming Competition at John Brown University.

High school and college students showcased their computer coding and problem solving skills during the sixth annual John Brown University Programming Competition on Saturday.

A total of 22 high school students, including teams from Haas Hall Academy, Springdale High School and home-schooled students, and 15 JBU students participated in the competition, according to Tim Gilmour, assistant professor of engineering at the university.

Students were given a series of 10 problems, ranging in difficulty, and worked together in teams to come up with solutions, Gilmour said. All of the problems involved coding, and focused on either math or logic. Students had the option to use one of five computer coding languages to solve the problems, he said.

High school students ranged in age from ninth through 12th grade, and most students who participated were taking some kind of Advanced Placement computer science course, Gilmour said.

The competition was sponsored by Field Agent, a Fayetteville based technology company. Participating gave students a chance to learn to solve problems logically, and to work as a team, Gilmour said. It also gives them a feel of the JBU campus. Students ended the day with a tour of the Balzer Technology Center, he said.

Josifina Perez, a computer science teacher at Springdale High School, brought five students divided into two teams to the competition.

This is the third year Perez has brought her students to the competition. She said it exposes them to college level problems and exposes them to the opportunities available in programming.

"I like them to apply their skills, what they've learned in the classroom, apply them to something they've learned other than just an assignment," Perez said.

Ana Estrada and Vanessa Salinas, both seniors at Haas Hall Academy, said they got involved with the competition through their Advanced Placement computer science class.

Salinas, who is considering a career in technology, said she enjoyed collaborating with her team.

"It's been challenging, but it's been fun to take what we've learned in school and apply it to kind of real life situations," she said.

Estrada said that the competition taught her to work through frustrations, a skill that has applications to both the competition and real life, she said.

Prizes were awarded to the top three JBU teams and the top three high school teams. Haas Hall's "Big Dog" team took first place, followed by Springdale's "Byte Squad" and Haas Hall's "Stack Overflow."

Members of the winning high school team each received a $1,000 JBU scholarship and $20 cash. Members of the second place team each received a $500 scholarship and $10 cash, and third place team members received a $250 scholarship and $5 cash.

Winning college teams were "Hip, Hip," followed by "Torrent" and "TBD." College team members received $20 cash for first place, $10 for second place and $5 for third place.

General News on 02/07/2018

Print Headline: JBU hosts tech competition

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