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Project: Wiki

Students John Noel and Regina Robbins win big at spring SHARE

Students John Noel and Regina Robbins win big at spring SHARE
John Noel and Regina Robbins win the SHARE Academic Award for Excellence.

When John Noel started a Wiki-themed project as an intern at Cary, N.C.-based SAS Institute Inc., winning an award for it never entered his mind.

As he worked on the project, a series of fortunate events—starting when he teamed up with SAS co-worker Regina Robbins—changed everything. Noel and Robbins studied computer information systems at North Carolina Central University and shared a professor, Cameron Seay, who suggested they enter the SHARE user group Academic Award for Excellence contest. They were eventually named the contest’s grand-prize winners.

Noel said he started the Wiki project at the request of Dan Squillace, senior IT manager of SAS Institute, who wanted to find a way to build a repository site to make documentation more easily accessible and relevant. “Regina was also working with Wiki, and we went from there,” says Noel. “It was really just work on a daily basis on that area and we geared it more toward the contest.”

“Putting John and Regina on this project had several benefits,” says Squillace. “First, they experimented with several approaches to designing and populating the site.ÊThen they began populating the site with material from an older website and also putting together new documentation under the guidance of other systems programmers. As an added benefit, they learned a lot about the various systems-programming disciplines through the process of putting together this documentation and verifying procedures.”

According to Raymond Sun, deputy director, SHARE Marketing, the SHARE Academic Award for Excellence requires student submissions to be an academic project and it must demonstrate an effective use of enterprise IT to achieve objectives of value to organizations. “The goals of this award,” says Sun, “are to create awareness of SHARE among the academic community and the next generation of enterprise IT professionals and to showcase and reward academic work that SHARE acknowledges as relevant to the future of enterprise computing.”

As grand-prize winners, Noel and Robbins presented their project at the March SHARE in Anaheim, Calif. They were unsure what to expect, but the feedback was positive. “Everybody was really responsive and took in the opportunity to apply (our project) to their organizations,” says Noel. “You can develop your own Wiki based on your preferences and goals. It’s available online; download it and build it how you see fit.”

Both Noel and Robbins plan to stay in the technology field for a long time. Noel is impressed that fellow IT enthusiasts are so welcoming to newcomers. “This industry has captured my attention and the people in it are very open and willing to share knowledge and bring you aboard,” he says. After completing graduate school in December, Noel hopes to continue his role as a zNextGen system programmer at the SAS Institute.

Robbins says she values the opportunity to learn something new in IT every day. “There’s so much to learn in this organization,” she says. “I really don’t see myself knowing everything so there’s always an opportunity to learn something more and do something different. I feel like I’ll be here for a number of years.”

Caroline Vitse is a freelance writer based in Rochester, Minnesota.



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