Computer science, engineering students to visit for NTASC æ12

On March 31, computer science and engineering students from colleges and universities across Texas and Oklahoma will meet at Midwestern State University's Bolin Science Hall for a day featuring their research projects and presentations. High school students have been invited to observe the event.

The 16th Annual North Texas Area Student Conference (NTASC æ12) is a one-day event sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and chaired by computer science professor Dr. Stewart Carpenter. What sets the conference apart from traditional events is that the focus is placed on the presentation of papers and projects by the students themselves, graduate and undergraduate, relating to their experiences in computing. Presentations can include individual or team projects, research efforts, and major classroom assignments.

The conference is an opportunity for students and faculty to share ideas and experiences while participating in a professional conference at no fee. For high school students, the conference provides a preview of what they can expect while pursuing a university degree, while observing firsthand college-level projects in computer and engineering-related fields.

Although the focus is on student presentation, the keynote speaker is one who will provide encouragement in a tough, changing field. This year's speaker is National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) external agreements manager Thomas Morrow. At NASA, Morrow has worked on space-based weapon systems, the International Space Station program, the shuttle program, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) tool development (tools used by astronauts as they work in space), and EVA suit improvements. Before NASA, Morrow worked for the Boeing Company for 18 years. He received his BS from the University of Maryland, MBA from Pepperdine University, and his JD from the University of Houston Law Center. He is a registered patent attorney and currently works at NASA's Johnson Space Center legal office.

Students from Abilene Christian University, Cameron University, Dallas Baptist University, MSU, Southwestern University, Tarleton University, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech, Texas Woman's University , and Wiley College have registered to make presentations and over 115 people have registered to attend, with more than 140 attendees expected from colleges and universities in Texas and Oklahoma.

Last year, 122 college and high school students from across the region attended the conference. The keynote speaker was MSU graduate David Hott. Hott is a certified IT Specialist/Architect, Program Engagement Manager for IBM and is currently managing a $6 billion program.