St. Scholastica Students Place Fifth in Digi-Key Competition

Alexa Jokinen

Electronics galore! This fall a team of St. Scholastica students placed fifth in the Digi-Key Computing Competition. Digi-Key Electronics is one of the largest distributors of electronic parts in the county. Based out of Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Digi-Key puts on a yearly competition for students in northern midwest schools to compete and show off their electronic skills.

CIS majors, Malvern Madondo, Jason Kent, Sara Desrocher and Dan Wilman, with the help of their faculty coach Kris Glesner teamed up to compete in the Digi-Key Competition this year.

“The competition consists of three events: a short programming session, a word problem session, and a long programming session,” said Glesner.

In order to prepare for competition, the team met up four times beforehand to develop strategies and practice the different events. Most of the work to prepare for the competition was done individually and then the team would meet together as a group to work out problems they found during individual prep work.

The preparation was necessary.

“None of the students had participated in a programming competition before,” said Glesner.

With proper preparation leading up to the competition, the team was ready to compete.

“We had a good balance of programming, math and logic knowledge,” said Kent.

During the competition, there were many challenges; programming was one of the most difficult. “The questions were very challenging and we had a tight time limit for each session,” said Madondo. Not only were the programming questions difficult, time was of the essence.

“We had to quickly choose which programming questions would give us the best result because we did not have time to do them all,” said Desrocher.

After interviewing students on the team, all the students agreed that their most memorable moment was getting first place in the “blenders” section twice.

“These are sessions where you are shown different images in a few seconds and name anything related to computing in those images. We did not practice for this and weren’t even aware this was going to be part of the competition,” said Madondo.

Despite a lack of preparation in this aspect, the team ended up winning this section.

At the end of the competition, the team ended up placing fifth out of twenty-two teams that were competing.

The students, “did a fantastic job to finish fifth overall, especially when you consider there were teams from large schools like UND, NDSU, and UMD,” said Glesner.

The competition went really well and the entire team was proud of their hard work.

“It was a great experience, and our team is looking forward to the MICS competition next spring, said Glesner.

If any students are interested in competing at the Digi-Key competition, get into contact with the CIS programming staff. The team would love to recruit some new teammates to compete with.