WITC hosts student ISA competition
Nearly 80 college students and their instructors, including 10
from WITC-New Richmond, recently competed in an industrial automation, controls
and networking (IACN) event hosted by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.
The annual student competition is sponsored by the International Society of
Automation (ISA) and moves from college to college. Students traveled from all
over ISA’s District 6, which includes Wisconsin, North and South Dakota,
Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Thirteen teams of four students competed for a full day to
solve problems and answer questions developed by ISA members. Topics included
PLC programming, wiring, pneumatic valves, ph testing and other industry-related
According to the ISA judges, this year’s teams competed very
well, noting that only 30 points separated the top and bottom teams.
The top two scoring teams then met face-to-face in a Quiz
Bowl to determine the winner. WITC’s teams came in
fourth and ninth this year, with the Iowa team taking first. Since it began
offering the IACN degree in 2006, WITC has taken first place two times and
hosted the competition twice.
“The questions cover both years of learning for our students,”
says Rose Cibulka, WITC instructor of the
IACN program. “The curriculum differs
throughout the district. For example, some offer process control in the first
year, whereas ours is in the second year. Also, WITC is the only college to offer
computer systems administration as part of the curriculum.”
“It’s an excellent learning experience,” Cibulka says. “The
students experience teamwork and learn from visiting students. And, while it’s
nice to have the competition here, it’s also good to visit the other schools to
see how their programs are set up.” Instructors participated in a roundtable
discussion of best practices while the students competed.