Thursday, February 3, 2011

HSCC Testimonial: Gregory Chambers (Hartford, 2001, 2004-2005)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) has given out over $344,000 in scholarships since 1999. The vast majority of these scholarships go to young people who compete in the BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships each year. These high-performing students earn Jesse Bemley Scholarships.

Gregory Chambers is a Bemley Scholar. He was a member of the HSCC team trained by BDPA Hartford chapter that earned the silver medal in the 2005 HSCC championships held in Detroit. Gregory used his scholarship to defray the cost of his education at Tufts University. He is currently a web and database developer.

Here are his thoughts about his HSCC experience:

My first experience with the HSCC was early in middle school, when I sat in on an HSCC training class where the students were learning to design a basketball game. I was inspired by this project, as I had spent time using object oriented programming to create levels and worlds for one of my favorite DOS-based games, ZZT, which itself came with its own integrated development environment. Although I was unable to keep up with the class that day, it introduced me to Microsoft's Visual Studio, which would become a familiar interface in the years to come.

2004 Hartford HSCC Team
As a Hartford chapter team member during my eighth, eleventh, and twelfth grades, we found ourselves immersed in a challenging competition that most memorably required the rapid development and presentation of a web application that was intuitive and functional, approximating the quality of a site developed professionally over the course of a much larger period of time. This imperative for professional-level quality belied the fact that as Active Server Pages developers much of our precious time was spent using one of programmers' older best friends, the text editor; however, it drove us to excel, and after exciting and demanding trips to compete in Chicago (2001), and Dallas (2004), our efforts culminated in the achievement of first runner up in the 2005 competition in Detroit.

It wasn't just doing well in the competition that defined my HSCC experience; the opportunities that came out of it were multiple. Learning about information technology under the guidance of wizened professionals – the history of computing and how computers work, developing and presenting both an application and the crucial collaboration of the team behind it – and traveling across the country to meet and compete with like-minded peers and mentors made the HSCC experience the defining foundation of my professional life.

My hope is that Gregory gets reconnected with BDPA Hartford chapter now that he is an IT professional. I also hope that Gregory's story inspires you to support the BDPA Hartford HSCC Scholarship Fund.

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