With the holiday season upon us, students finally have time to enjoy away from school; time to spend with family and friends – or to enjoy a hobby.

If designing computer programs is a hobby you enjoy – or if you are considering computer and information sciences as a potential college major – Gannon is giving students a chance to explore the multitude of opportunities in technology, and maybe win some cash, too.

Gannon invites those interested in computer programming to enter its annual Computer Programming Contest for high school students.

Theresa M. Vitolo, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of the computer and information science program at Gannon, said the contest – which is designed to encourage students to learn computer programming – allows students the opportunity to have fun designing a program while getting rewarded for their work.

Entries must be written in Visual Basic, C++, Java, or a programming language that is executable on a PC running a LINUX or Windows operating system. Games are also considered acceptable entries.

The contest is free; students may enter as individuals or as a group. All students who enter must have a sponsoring teacher from their respective high school, or a private teacher for homeschooling. Additionally, all students must include the following in their applications:

  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Name of high school
  • Expected date of graduation
  • Area of academic interest

Chad Gauthier, a sophomore computer and information sciences major, says the contest is a great opportunity for students to gain recognition for their work, and have fun while designing a program.

Cash prizes including $300 for first place, $150 for second, and $100 for third will be awarded; the cash amounts will be split among the team members. Entries will be judged on three primary criteria: effectiveness at solving the documented problem, clarity of code design and conciseness and completeness of documentation.

The contest begins Jan. 8, 2010, and submissions will be accepted through March 8, 2010. For more information, contact Gannon’s Computer and Information Science department at 814-871-7126 or visit http://www.gannon.edu/programcontest.

Curious about other ways to get cash for your college fund? You may like our Q&A session with Renee Huefner, assistant director of the Financial Aid office.