Kent State University at Ashtabula Students Earn Top Honors at Information Technology Conference

Kent State University at Ashtabula Dean Susan Stocker (right) and Associate Lecturer Carolyn Carvalho (left) celebrate with now retired Assistant Professor Irene Edge (middle) at the AITP National Collegiate Conference. Edge received the 2013 Faculty Going the Extra Mile award at the conference.Kent State University at Ashtabula students who are members of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) won honors and awards at the association’s National Collegiate Conference that took place recently in St. Louis, Mo. Special awards also went to two Kent State faculty members. Irene Edge, assistant professor of computer technology, who retired in May after more than 30 years at Kent State, received the 2013 Faculty Going the Extra Mile award, and Carolyn Carvalho, associate lecturer of computer technology, received the MTA Certification Savior award.

“I am both overwhelmed and humbled by receiving this award,” Edge says. “I have always done my best to prepare my students to be IT professionals without expecting any recognition. It's always been about the students. I am truly honored. This year, having my daughter, Stephanie Edge, as a member of the team, taking third place in the Visual Studio .NET programming competition was a very proud moment for me, as well.”

“I was surprised to receive the award, but very happy that our friends at Microsoft were able to work with AITP to offer certification exams for the students at the national conference,” says Carvalho. “The students on our campus worked very diligently to prepare for both the exams, as well as the competitions, and I'm glad that so many of our students were successful at earning their MTAs and also at the competitions.”

Susan Stocker, Ph.D., dean for Kent State Ashtabula, made an appearance at the conference to surprise Edge and support the faculty members and students who were honored.

“I am very proud of our students, not just in regard to their performance in the competitions that took place, but the fact that they were able to network with other students and IT professionals from around the country,” Stocker says. “It was a great professional development opportunity. I was really pleased that I was able to be present to see Irene receive the Going the Extra Mile award. She was most deserving of that recognition.”

“Having Dean Stocker attend the conference was definitely a surprise,” Edge says. “I can't believe all of the planning that took place to keep that surprise from me. Dean Stocker has always been supportive of me and my AITP students, but I never imagined she would go to such great efforts to demonstrate that. Her presence was the ‘icing on the cake!’”

More than 700 people attended the conference where Kent State Ashtabula students competed against college students from across the country.

Carvalho says that she was proud of the students and their performance at the conference.

“I know how hard they worked to get there— not only in the many grueling fundraising events, but also in their enthusiasm in studying and preparing for the competitions and certifications, designing shirts and banners, and even filming and editing a movie detailing their journey to the conference,” Carvalho says. “The professionalism, leadership, team spirit and camaraderie they exhibited at the conference were awesome to witness. In addition, they helped keep the ‘big secret’ safe about Dean Stocker's attendance, enabling a fun and memorable surprise for Professor Edge.”

The students received awards in the following categories:


Visual Studio .NET competition – Stephanie Edge and Rita Hennigan, 3rd place
Professional Banner competition – Daniel Scott, 2nd place

Professional Certifications
MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) Certification

Rita Hennigan – Database Administration Fundamentals
Brady Sand – Networking Fundamentals and Security Fundamentals
Danielle Rill – Windows OS Fundamentals and Security Fundamentals
Ed Drum – Networking Fundamentals
Jeffrey Hopes – Security Fundamentals

Sadly, Jeffrey Hopes, Kent State Ashtabula student, passed away a few weeks after the conference. Hopes was earning a degree in computer technology and was an active member of the university’s AITP.

“Jeff was passionate about technology and considered AITP to be his family,” Carvalho says. “He was an avid learner and whether it was a workshop, webinar or guest speaker, Jeff would be at the AITP functions soaking up any information he could.”

Carvalho adds that Hopes attended the National Collegiate Conference four times during his time at Kent State Ashtabula.

“This was to be his final conference before he graduated,” she says. “He attempted the MTA Security Fundamentals exam and it was so great to see his smiling face and a big thumbs-up when he walked out of the testing room the last time. He was so proud and happy that he had passed and earned his certification at his last conference as a student. He is greatly missed, but we are comforted knowing that at least we were able to share in his happiness at his last conference and successful certification.”

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POSTED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:23pm
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