HGTC students get high marks in national competition
Apr 11, 2012 (The Sun News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
CONWAY Steve Luse has long thought the information technology program he runs at Horry-Georgetown Technical College is among the best in the nation and now he has the trophies to prove it.
At the recent National Collegiate Conference of the Association for Information Technology Professionals in San Antonia, Texas, HGTC students scored second in two of a number of contests and third in another. In addition, all 16 of the HGTC students who attended the conference placed in the top 30 among more than 500 students.
First-year student Clint Johnson registered the second-highest score on a key skills test, he and second-year student Christine Keasler placed second in the graphics communications contest, and Keasler and second-year student Jeremiah Farley walked away with the third place trophy for network design.
"They run the world," Farley, 33, said of computers.
Johnson, 26, said he first discovered computers when his father bought a computerized paint-mixing machine for his auto body shop. Johnson said he was fascinated and would tear down and then rebuild the machine, a process that made his father nervous. By the time he was 15, he was fixing computers of people in the neighborhood, and he now owns a computer repair and consulting business he calls The North Myrtle Beach Geek.
Keasler, 55, got into computers later than the other two, but is now known as CD (the common denominator) because of her place on the two HGTC teams that returned home with awards.
It was awesome to have won, she said.
"To know that we had the ability to do that," she said, leaving as unnecessary an ending to her sentence.
While Johnson hopes that his success at the conference will help him to attract more business clients and charge higher rates, he's sure he's on the road of his future.
He said he likes the mental part of trouble shooting a computer problem and has a picture in his head of both the physical and logical designs he may have to work through for a solution.
"It comes naturally," he said.
Keasler and Farley are hooked on the virtualization edge in modern computing and the cloud world that makes the most of existing hardware in ways only recently imagined.
"It's faster than nanoseconds," she said of the processing speed in her specialized world.
Keasler said she'll follow Farley to the virtual part of Western Kentucky University, where he is also pursuing a degree.
Luse said there are more than 200 information technology students at HGTC, a number that grew when the economy dipped.
And it's no wonder.
"In our industry," Luse said, "they're always hiring."
Graduates can expect an average of $28,000 to $30,000 when they get their degrees.
He said that HGTC was one of a few two-year schools in the national competitions. The field included schools such as Purdue and Texas A&M, and Luse and the students were proud that their talents proved just as good as those as students from large universities.
Luse said the explanation, in his mind, is easy.
"We have to prepare students four the real world," he said. "We only have two years to do that. We get more into hands-on."
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.
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