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Top Illinois Tech Students Identified Through 2012 ITA Fall Challenge
[November 19, 2012]

Top Illinois Tech Students Identified Through 2012 ITA Fall Challenge

(Marketwire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 11/19/12 -- The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) proudly announces the winners of the 2012 Fall Challenge Presented by Backstop Solutions Group. The Final Challenge brought 55 students to Chicago, introducing them to Illinois technology companies to attract them to the growing Chicago tech industry.

Bill Waldrep of the University of Chicago, Jesse Young from IIT, and Garrett Padera from the University of Illinois at Chicago earned the top 3 scores for Undergraduates, each receiving cash prizes of $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 respectively. Ph.D. student Murph Finnicum from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign took the top honor for advanced degrees.

"Illinois is home to some of the top technology universities in the country and we want to encourage students at these schools to stay in Illinois when they graduate," said Governor Pat Quinn. "The ITA Fall Challenge helps connect our brightest students with some of our most innovative companies and builds the talent pool for future economic growth." "The 2012 ITA Fall Challenge has driven the visibility of our company and introduced us to the next generation of talented technologists," said Chris Brown, Director of Engineering, Backstop Solutions Group. "Our company connected with some of the brightest engineering minds coming from our local universities. We look forward to welcoming them to the local tech industry." Students in attendance participated in interviews with Presenting Sponsor, Backstop Solutions Group, and Supporting Sponsors ADP, kCura, Nokia, and redbox.

"Growing the awareness of the local technology industry, with the support of companies like our Presenting Sponsor, Backstop Solutions Group, will bring much needed technology talent to the local industry," said Fred Hoch, President ITA. "Attracting and retaining top technology talent, fostered by the world-class universities here in the Midwest, not only fuels the economic growth of the region but establishes Chicago as a tech hub on a national level, attracting new businesses and funding." The ITA thanks Presenting Sponsor Backstop Solutions Group; Supporting sponsors ADP, kCura, Nokia, and redbox; and Participating sponsor companies Applied Systems, Centro, ChannelIQ, MBX Systems, and Nxt Team.

ITA and Backstop congratulate all the 2012 ITA Fall Challenge Finalists on their great achievements.

Bradley University Anthony Stephan Illinois Institute of Technology Eduardo Garcia Berrocal David Biedrzycki Dinesh Kesavan Jesse Young Loyola University Mbaunguaraije Tjikuzu Northern Illinois University Eric Bellefontaine John Kakumanu Vincent Schramer Zhihao Yuan Northwestern University Ross Epstein Seth Nelson Southern Illinois University Dabin Ding Jason Fairfield University of Chicago Jeremy Archer Michael Begun Sean Hogan Daniel Mane Grant Rotskoff Henry Steinitz Bill Waldrep University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Zachary Avila George Brova Steven Canning Jaehyun Cho Murph Finnicum Chase Geigle Matthew Hoffman Brent Hronik Sean Hurley Devesh Jhunjhunwala Eric Johnson Thomas Johnston Eric Joyner Elizabeth Kelly Xiang Li Nicholas Lu Sean Massung Kerui Min Zachary Reizner Rohit Sanbhadti Tianhui Shi Kyle Spesard Michael Staszel Brian Wang Alexandar Zhu University of Illinois at Chicago Sean Deitz BM Hossain Garrett Padera Jack Petraitis Anthony Phelps Celeste Wallace For more information about the ITA and the Fall Challenge, visit

About the ITAThe Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is the driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. Providing programs and services focused on development, visibility, and talent attraction, ITA accelerates the growth of member company's businesses. ITA brings growth-stage industry companies together, leveraging the connections and experiences of the community to increase the overall success rate of the local industry. Championing the development and application of technologies and leveraging its transformative nature, ITA is an invaluable resource for growing companies. For more information about ITA, please visit

Contact the ITA at, follow the discussion on Twitter at @itabuzz, and visit to find out more about how ITA supports the growth of the local industry.

About Backstop Solutions GroupBackstop Solutions Group, LLC is a privately held Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform company, providing cutting-edge software to hedge funds, funds of funds, endowments and other institutional investors. Backstop Solutions was founded in 2003 and is one of the fastest growing software providers in the financial services industry. Backstop Software is used by more than 350 firms throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and has been repeatedly recognized by industry leading managers and service providers as a top technology provider in the alternative asset management field.

Add to Digg Bookmark with Add to Newsvine Contact: Dorothy Radke Talent Initiatives ITA +1.312.924.1044 Source: Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

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