On Saturday, Oct. 26, three students traveled to participate in the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges programming contest held at Robert Morris University, where Waynesburg University placed seventh among 20 competing schools.
Many of the competing institutions consist of a significantly larger student population with opponents such as James Madison University. Other teams travel to these CCSCE programming contests regionally and compete yearly, though this was the student’s first time competing together.
The three students acted as a team to solve as many complex programming problems as possible in a restricted four hour timeframe. Elizabeth Wang, professor of computer science, oversaw the trip on behalf of the university and strategically selected members of the team.
The three competitors representing the university included Teagan Jenner, senior mathematics major, Dan Peart, senior computer science major and Wesley Brice, sophomore computer science major.
“I knew they would be dedicated and committed to this. They were ready to work the extra mile,” Wang said. “I was sure about my students.”
Wang selected these competitors for their work ethic and differing strengths, which allowed for a more well-rounded team and thus a more effective team. Jenner was able to connect with Wang after enrolling in her entry-level programming courses.
“I did well in the java programming classes and since then I have continued to help out with those classes every semester and have stayed up to date on the material,” Jenner said.
In order to prepare for the competition, team members met weekly to complete problems given in previous CCSCE competitions.
“As a group, we were ready to go,” Jenner said. “The preparation definitely helped us perform better and feel more confident about the types of problems we would be asked to solve.”
Each member of the team had a different specialty that they were able to apply to the problems, including backgrounds within mathematics, programming and syntax.
“I think we performed so well because we each had a different role to bring to the team, so we could work on multiple problems at the same time,” Jenner said.
The team was also able to bring their completed problems as print-out resources to assist them during the CCSCE programming contest.
“We used some of the concepts and logic from the old questions to start some of the problems at the competition,” Jenner said.
The university team members completed seven programming questions within the four-hour competition period and were awarded 687 points based on the accuracy of their answers. The questions given within the competition are intentionally very challenging to test the knowledge of the team.
“Every problem is very difficult,” Wang said.
Wang is proud of the team’s performance and believes that the achievement will strengthen their resumes.
“I am sure their accomplishment will benefit them,” Wang said.
Jenner believes that Wang deserves a lot of credit for the success of the team.
“We would not have gone to the competition, let alone do as well as we did, without her making it happen and being extremely supportive and excited for us,” Jenner said.
Jenner believes traveling to compete in CCSCE was beneficial to her and her teammates educationally.
“We were all proud to represent our department and Waynesburg University at the competition, especially when we ended up performing so well,” Jenner said. “It is nice to bring some focus to the staff and faculty who prepared us since they do a great job.”