MURRAY, Ky. — The telecommunications systems management (TSM) program and case study team from Murray State University won awards at the 2019 Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association (ITERA) National Conference in Indianapolis from April 11-13, competing against many universities from across the country to win the national competition.

Murray State University’s TSM program won the ITERA Program of the Year award. The award is given to an undergraduate or graduate program for its body of work over a period of time, a unique element, unusual accomplishment or for the program as a whole. Dr. Abdul Yarali, TSM’s undergraduate program coordinator, submitted the nomination on behalf of TSM.

For this year’s competition, teams of students were required to solve a hypothetical but realistic information technology problem. The case study challenged student teams to create a technology and security plan for a fictitious school district.

The finalists included Murray State University, Ball State University, James Madison University and Ohio University. This is the 13th time Murray State has qualified as a finalist and the seventh time it has won the national competition, which is more than any other college competing. Hunter Evans of Benton, Kentucky, Chris Nahlik of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Daniel Watkins of Paris, Tennessee, and Trevor Hendricks of Hanson, Kentucky, formed this year’s case study team. Evans and Nahlik represented Murray State at the competition.

“The competition provided us the opportunity to develop a real-world technology plan while competing against other universities,” Evans said. “We used our knowledge from the classroom, along with our experiences and input from experts, to design a solution that would work best for the students in the scenario to learn in a safe and innovative environment.”


Pictured in a group photo are Murray State University TSM students, faculty and staff attending the conference.

All Murray State students who participated in the competition are enrolled in the telecommunications systems management master’s degree program. The students completed the case study during the capstone course. Dr. Michael Ramage, director of the Murray State Center for Telecommunications Systems Management, was the faculty sponsor and mentor for the winning team. The case study team received a financial award for winning the competition.

In addition to the previously mentioned awards won by TSM, Dr. Ramage received the ITERA Distinguished Service Award. Over the past six years, Dr. Ramage has served as the ITERA board chair, president, vice president and program chair.

ITERA was formed in 2005 to encourage and support information, telecommunications science and networking with professors, educators and researchers. Murray State was a charter member of the organization, with several faculty and staff holding positions within the organization over the years. ITERA consists of approximately 20 schools located across the United States.

The telecommunications systems management program is the award-winning Program of Distinction at Murray State University. The program provides degree tracks in cybersecurity, wireless communications and network, and systems administration. Telecommunications systems management is designed to focus on network infrastructure in the rapidly growing technology industry. It is an interdisciplinary program that provides students a solid foundation in information systems technologies and the application of those technologies in a business environment.

Top photo: The telecommunications systems management (TSM) program and case study team from Murray State University won awards at the 2019 Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association (ITERA) National Conference in Indianapolis from April 11-13, competing against many universities from across the country to win the national competition. Pictured from left are team members Chris Nahlik, Hunter Evans and faculty sponsor and mentor Dr. Michael Ramage.

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