Sixteen students from Temple’s Association for Information Systems (AIS) recently traveled to Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., for the second annual international AIS student chapter competition, and nine of those students were in teams that won first, second or third place in the categories they entered.
In another competition hosted by Walmart shortly thereafter, two Temple AIS students led an intercollegiate team that created a mobile application that won them first prize. That team donated the $5,000 award from Walmart to the Boston Patriot Fund for victims and families affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“It is hard to convey the pride we feel about our students,” said Carey O’Donnell, assistant professor of management information systems and Temple AIS faculty advisor, who accompanied the students to Arkansas. “The students have embraced the culture we have created for competitions, and we can expect to see more Temple teams competing in a variety of competitions going forward.”
Students from 82 universities and colleges competed in the preliminary round in December, and 20 teams made it to the finals round for the competition in front of competition track judges from educational institutions and the business world. The AIS event involved institutions such as University of Alabama, Michigan State, University of Arizona, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia State University, Brigham Young University, Utah State and Bentley University.
Josh Wise, Jalen Blot, Kira Greenlee and Cori Shearer took first place in the Interactive Learning Module track. Overnight, they created a video that helped them win first place.
Dave Dupell and Magen Sheeran took second place in the IT Risk track, in a final judging that the track chair told O’Donnell later was too close to call. (He said they almost had to flip a coin.) “It was an impressive performance and a very professional presentation,” he said.
The team that competed in the IT Management track was composed of Gabrielle Lopez, Brittany Hafer and Veer Patel. They took third place.
Walmart then hosted a second competition called the IT Summit Challenge and created ad hoc teams that were challenged to create an innovative technology for presentation to Walmart executives. The students had 24 hours to collaborate and create a working prototype involving the innovative use of technology in retail applications.
The team, led by Temple AIS members Jennifer O’Malley and Cori Shearer, won first place for their submission, which they stayed up nearly all night producing. The mobile app comprised three features: one allowed the shopper to map out the fastest route through the store based on their shopping list, another used store data such as heating information to determine how crowded the store is and which is the fastest way through it, and a third component allowed the shopper to use the app to find a parking space. The judges described it as the “only viable working application of new technology,” O’Donnell said.
This year, Temple students defended the school’s top-tier status earned at last year’s international competition held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where Temple teams finished twice in first place and once in second place.
Temple’s chapter of AIS is a student professional organization with more than 200 fully engaged students who participate in consulting engagements, workshops and outreach initiatives aimed at the business and alumni community.
“It is a very exciting and heady time for our chapter,” O’Donnell said.