Thursday, September 15, 2016

Michael Espey * 2012 Bemley Scholar (University of Wisconsin)

Michael  Espey
BDPA Southern Minnesota students earned 4th place in National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship held in August 2012. The HSCC competition comprises three components: oral testing, written testing and a programming project. Michael Espey was a member of that team. He earned a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship which he used at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He majored in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science with two concentrations: Software Development and Information Assurance and Cyber Security. Michael had many life goals including getting a job in Rochester, MN. He was successful in his goal as he is now a software engineer at IBM.

We asked Michael to provide his thoughts BDPA and his experiences in the HSCC event:

Hello my name is Michael Espey and I (attended) the University of Wisconsin-Stout majoring in Applied Math and Computer Science. Within my major I am concentrating in software development as well as information assurance and cyber security. BDPA has been a part of my life since my senior year in high school and has helped me so much giving me lifelong skills that have contributed to my successes and future opportunities.

When my brother in law, William Smith came to me suggesting that I join BDPA, I was a bit hesitant. I wasn't much of an outgoing person to try new things, but I went anyway since IT had interested me. On the first day of class I found myself sitting in a room of complete strangers, but I felt welcome and happy to be there. Once I met the instructors and the people there, I knew that i was in a good place to learn about web design and programming. I had taken a web programming class a year before in high school, so I was curious what new things I would learn in BDPA. The first couple weeks were things that I already knew - HTML and CSS. After a few weeks passed I was learning something new every week including PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript just to name a few. Getting up every Saturday to be to class by 9 am was sometimes challenging, but every week I went to class and found myself happy with that decision every time. Before i knew it, I was excited for Saturdays to come so I could be with my great instructors, peers, and new challenges. I had always been interested in computers and programming, but after I had joined BDPA is when i knew I would want to do this for my life career. BDPA has opened so many doors in my life including meeting potential employers and people interested in IT just like me!

When it came time to announce the team that would represent Southern Minnesota in the 2012 HSCC, I was eager to hear if my name made the list. I had worked very had throughout the school year, and after hearing my name as a member of the team, I was so excited! When we arrived in Baltimore, we were among big cities such as Los Angeles and the Twin Cities chapters. I knew it was not going to be an easy competition, but we had a great team and had prepared for so long. The HSCC had 3 different tasks for the competition including a team questioning, individual questioning, and team programming. My most memorable part of the HSCC was the day of the programming part of the competition. I remember being really nervous yet excited for a 7 hour task that we had been preparing for all summer long at our boot camp meetings. The thing that I can remember the most is sitting down with my team members, developing a totally functional website in only 7 hours. We worked together so well and got along great!

2012 HSCC Team (BDPA Southern Minnesota)
Even though our team only got 4th place that year, I have gotten so much more from BDPA. BDPA has helped me become more social with others, meet lots of new people that I will communicate with for the rest of my life, develop skills that I can use for the future including time management, teamwork, working hard to achieve my goals, and preparing me for college. My plans for the future are to receive my bachelors degree in 2016, help my BDPA chapter as much as I can, and get a job that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. I couldn’t have had such a great start to college and programming if it weren’t for BDPA guiding me along the way.

Thank You BDPA!

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation is very proud of Michael's involvement with BDPA.  I encourage everyone who support BDPA to make a donation to the Bemley Scholarship Fund.  You can contact Michael on Twitter: @StoutGradMike16.

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