Business students take first place at Travelers IT Case Competition

CIS students
From left: Quinnipiac students Luke Forrister, Marissa Maturo, Tara Daleo, Cassie Terrell and faculty adviser Kiku Jones.

Nov. 5, 2013 - A team of four Quinnipiac students took first place at the Travelers IT Case Competition held on Nov. 1 at the insurance company's Hartford headquarters. 

The students, all computer information systems majors at the School of Business and Engineering, were tasked with creating a technical solution for Travelers that would help meet customer preferences. Juniors Cassie Terrell, Marissa Maturo, Tara Daleo and sophomore Luke Forrister came up with the concept of a notification alert system called TravAlert that would be used to alert customers when their house and other insured items might be in danger due to severe weather.

"We worked really hard for three weeks putting all of this together and really put a lot of effort into all of the details," Terrell said. "It was really nerve-wracking going up to Travelers to present in the auditorium in front of everyone, but we had a very clear and concise presentation and I was very proud of my team."

According to Terrell, TravAlert would be a personalized service that would also include a weather forecast and could be received through text message, e-mail or landline call, depending on customer preference.

The Quinnipiac students beat out six other teams from Bentley University, University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Metropolitan State University and University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire to claim top honors and a grand prize of $1,400.

"We are very proud of our team of CIS students who took first place in the Travelers IT Case Competition. This is yet another indicator of the high quality of our students, our faculty and our academic programs," said Bruce Saulnier, professor and chair of computer information systems at the School of Business and Engineering.

"Case competitions can be very difficult," said Kiku Jones, assistant professor of computer information systems and the team's faculty adviser. "What their first place finish shows is their ability to think outside of the box. Having that type of ability is something that's nurtured here in this particular department."

Forrister found the experience stressful, but ultimately rewarding. "Once I heard the judges announce 'Quinnipiac' my excitement went through the roof," he said. "I could not believe that I was a major piece of a team that won first place while representing my entire school."