For the third straight year and fourth in the last five, University of Wisconsin-Stout students have won a computer network design national competition.
Brandon Wolf, of Unity, and Dan Schmidt, of Necedah, took first place at the AITP National Collegiate Conference and Career Fair held April 7-10 in Rosemont, Ill. AITP is the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
The conference, the 21st annual, drew 456 students from 61 colleges and universities. Competition was held in 12 categories.
It was Wolf’s second straight network design title. Last year, he won with a different teammate. UW-Stout students also won in 2014, 2012 and 2007.
Along with the first place by Wolf and Schmidt, UW-Stout’s Corey Schoff, of Ripon, and Nathanael Satnik, of Altoona, took third place.
UW-Stout also took second in 2015 and 2013.
In the network design contest, 36 teams competed. Second place went to Texas State while the University of Iowa received an honorable mention.
Wolf said he and Schmidt, both seniors, were well-prepared for their contest challenge, which was to write a proposal for a new network for Progressive Insurance, the contest’s sponsor.
“(Progressive) asked us to be creative with the design and incorporate new and upcoming technologies,” Wolf said. “We made sure to meet each one of the requirements Progressive put forth for us.
“We came in with a plan and trusted each other. Dan has more of a focus on the server side, while I focus on the networking side current and future needs. We needed knowledge in each area,” Wolf added.
Wolf also took an honorable mention in the network security competition.
After the competition, Progressive representatives discussed company job opportunities with Wolf and Schmidt, but both already have accepted full-time positions with Marshfield Clinic Information Services in Marshfield after they graduate May 7.
All four UW-Stout students are majoring in computer networking and information technology, formerly called information technology management. The AITP contest helped them realize they are on the right track with their education, Wolf said.
“We take a network design class that perfectly lines up with what we do at the competition. Other classes in our program teach us the different technologies and how they work. Our schooling has made the conference not seem too daunting of a challenge,” Wolf said.
Holly Yuan, the Bachelor of Science CNIT program director, is the students’ adviser.