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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students show off tech skills at Games

As visitors walked through the doors of the University of Advancing Technology in Phoenix on Saturday, they were welcomed by a sea of computers and other technology gadgets that operated as a part of this years Avnet Tech Games.

Students from colleges all over Arizona, including the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, competed in the fifth annual technology competition geared toward technology- and business-savvy students.

“”Arizona students are on-site competing in engineering, computer science, business orientated and environmentally friendly challenges hoping to win scholarships and other prizes,”” said Teri Radosevich, vice-president of Community Relations and Public Affairs for Avnet Inc.

The nine challenges, including a robot obstacle course race and a marketing pitch competition, provided a platform for competitors to test their knowledge, creativity and problem solving skills.

“”I got a group of people together that work in the technology departments of Avnet Inc. and asked them what they look for in potential employees,”” Radosevich said. “”With the input of professors, we created these games as an opportunity for students to showcase their skills.””

Close to $50,000 was awarded over the course of the day in scholarships, gift cards and the Apple iPad.

Trevor Didell, a senior in the Eller College of Management, and Megan Sykes, a psychology junior, were two of the many UA students looking for a piece of the prize.

“”I was introduced to the games last year by my mom; she works for Avnet Inc.”” Sykes said. “”The challenges are very tech based, but there are also mini-games and events for those not wanting to build a robot.””

Avnet Inc. has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an amped-up Web site to promote the competition.

“”Previous years, students have heard about the games by word of mouth and faculty at their schools,”” Radosevich said. “”This year, we made an effort to increase our social media.””

This is the second year the UA has competed in the games. Student participation has increased and is a strong indication that Avnet’s social networking has worked.

A portion of the 10-hour day was devoted to a social networking session in which students were able to mingle with career professionals who could offer advice and guidance to those looking for opportunities upon graduation.

“”One of the hosts of today’s events was actually a contestant in the games the first year they started. Six months later, he was offered a job with Avnet Inc.,”” said Cory Fetter, a public relations intern working the event.

Didell hoped the networking hour could serve as a way to mingle with potential employers.

“”I am graduating in May and currently on the lookout for a job. Interviewing with some of the professionals here today could lead to employment, and that’s huge.”” he said. “”It’s tough out there, and the people you meet here could create future success.””

Sykes agrees that the benefits students stand to reap from the tech games far outweigh any obstacles one may have in becoming a contestant.

“”The 100-mile drive from Tucson is completely worth it. Last year, both Trevor (Didell) and I won $500 competing, and, with that money, we were able to take a cruise,”” she said.

Sykes and Didell have not been the only ones to see success. Since the creation of the games in 2006, nearly $180,000 has been awarded to hundreds of the 1,050 students and 100 faculty members who have participated.

This year, four UA students were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship to use toward any education-related cost after winning the Pitch-Event Creation challenge.

The challenge was to create a themed concept and design, complete with video and graphical treatments, to Omni Corporation International for an upcoming event.

Didell predicted the win, saying with definitiveness, “”The presentation blew me away. It had to win.””

With increased participation this year and expanded outreach programs, Radosevich hopes more people will benefit from all the Avnet Tech Games has to offer.

“”We encourage students to stay involved and engaged with everything they stand to do,”” she said.

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