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STC student takes third in national competition
Cynthia Rowlands
Cynthia Rowlands - photo by Photo provided.
For CIS/Cisco student Cynthia Rowlands, last month’s trip to Kansas City to compete in the Skills USA National Competition was just different enough from 2008 to be fun.
Rowlands, a student at Savannah Technical College’s Liberty County campus, was representing Georgia for the second consecutive year in the technical applications competition, working with and competing against other students in the use and application of technology to accomplish specific tasks. She finished in third place, winning bronze, bettering her position by one from last year’s competition.
Rowlands said, “They tested us individually on all of the functionalities of the Microsoft Office programs. Then, we worked in groups to use new and unfamiliar technology to communicate and accomplish our tasks.”
One task involved working on a network server that ran a different platform from the more familiar Windows servers.
The competition lasted two days and featured presentations by leading technology companies.
“Personally, I wish they had included a little more cutting-edge stuff,” she said. “We’re a bunch of tech-saavy people who would really have appreciated it.”
On what she learned by competing, she said, “ I guess I learned that I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am.”
Even though Rowlands' program of study includes a focus on hardware, she appreciated the exposure and opportunity to learn and adapt to new software.
“I’m going to be going into a business profession,” she said, “where I’ m going to really need to know and be able to use different software.”
They even learned some of the older technology so they can have “backwards compatibility” in any work environment.
STC’s satellite campus here serves 700 students each quarter. Growing up in a military family, Rowlands moved to Hinesville as a teenager and graduated from Bradwell Institute in 2006. This year, her family moved to Washington, D.C., but she chose to stay and complete her computer studies at Savannah Tech.
“I enjoy it here and I’ve gotten a scholarship for college. I didn’t think it would be very likely that I would get a scholarship for college in Washington.”
Rowlands works in the campus bookstore and has helped out in administrative and testing on campus. She credits Anthony Adams, department head and instructor of computer information systems at the Liberty campus, with encouraging her competitive streak.
The students set up a swap meet for lapel pins from their states and, in addition to her collection, Rowlands brought home software and headphones for placing third.
She hopes to continue in the competition.
“I’d like to see if I could place second or first,” she  said.
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