Estrella Mountain Computing Students Dream of Big Win at March's Avnet Tech Games

February 1, 2006 - While the world gives its attention to Turin, Italy, students at Estrella Mountain and other Maricopa Community Colleges have their eyes set on Mesa, Arizona, specifically the Avnet Tech Games, an Olympic-style technology competition to be held March 3, at Mesa Community College. Students from all of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges will compete in eight high-tech, complex categories designed to showcase student talent in the areas of robot building, website design, device design, computer networking and programming, computer building, and inventing original technological products. Winning teams will receive scholarships of up to $1,500 per student. All participants will receive prizes, including computer equipment and software.Estrella Mountain will send one team forth in the category of E-Commerce Web Site, led by Computer Information faculty Randol Larson. In this category, the team, consisting of Thomas Bonham, Allen Guerra, Virginia Long, and Matt Marshall will develop and build an e-commerce web site for a client of Avnet, a national technological firm and the sponsor of the Tech Games. The students have met with Kelly Bradbury, of Arizona Templates, to ascertain her needs, and are now in the process of designing and programming a web site that will provide Bradbury with an increased opportunity to sell her products. "What makes this event so particularly exciting for us," said Clay Goodman, Vice President of Occupational Education, "is that Kelly Bradbury is one of our own graduates. Now our students are working to increase the success of one of our graduates, and vice versa. It's really come full circle." Unlike the other categories, for which students will begin their work on March 3, the e-commerce competitors have three weeks of intense work before the big day arrives, to prepare their project for a formal presentation before judges in Mesa. "My students have put in over 70 hours collectively," said Larson. "That's in class time together. Individually, they each put in another 50 hours working on their individual facets of the site. They've really invested themselves completely in this project." Larson, who designed and developed the category for the Avnet Tech Games, is excited to see the skill sets he and other Estrella Mountain faculty have imparted to their students come to life in a real life setting, for a real client. "It's just incredible experience for them. They'll go out when they graduate and be able to say-I developed this for this client." That kind of real world experience is exactly the motivation behind the Avnet Tech Games. While thousands of students graduate each year having taken classes in these areas, competitors in the Avnet Tech Games supplement that education with experience in technology, decision making, and group dynamics. Real world, hands-on experience is not always easy to come by, but for participants in the Avnet Tech Games, it will be well earned. "It's such a great opportunity for all the students," Larson said. "It's like they've already won." For those interested in supporting Estrella Mountain's team, the Tech Game are as follows: What: Avnet Tech Games, an Olympic-style academic and technology competition for students throughout the Maricopa Community Colleges. The games are free and open to the public.When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, March 3, 2006.Where: Kirk Student Center, Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa.Estrella Mountain Community College is located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale and offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training to more than 13,000 students annually. Estrella Mountain is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. For more information visit or .