IT Executive Forum
Each fall the ITRI hosts the IT Executive Forum. This is a unique experience for students to interact and network with top executives in the field of information technology from companies like Walmart, JB Hunt, Tyson, Acxiom, FedEx, ARDIS, Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, and many more.
2016 IT Executive Forum for College Students
The Information Technology Research Institute, ITRI, at the Sam M. Walton College of Business is committed to promoting student interest in the study of information technology and facilitating the interaction between students and our board of advisors. The IT Executive Forum for college students and the IT Executive Forum for high school students are just two events the ITRI hosts that accomplishes this goal.
The IT Executive Forum for college students held September 14, 2016 saw more than 80 University of Arkansas college students in attendance. Information System professors Susan Bristow moderated the Q&A with information technology executives from Tyson Foods, Inc., Arkansas Department of Information Systems, Wal-Mart, Arvest Bank Operations, Acxiom, ConocoPhillips, FedEx, J.B. Hunt, Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Teradata and Movista as panelists. These students were very interested in the opportunities available at the various businesses and asked questions like “Would you recommend a double major?, Would you recommend getting your masters before entering the field?, What do you look for in an applicant?” Door prizes were awesome and one of the winners, Kaitlin McKenzie was a former participant in two other programs hosted by the ITRI: Technology Awareness Program and the National Center for Women in Information Technology, Aspirations in Computing Award both of which are geared towards generating and encouraging high school students to pursue a career in the information technology field. Kailin is now a sophomore in Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the University of Arkansas. ITRI managing director Eric T. Bradford proudly stated “Kaitlin is an example of how our programs positively affect high school students.” When the forum was over the panelists were surrounded by students eager to ask more questions and engage on a more personal level.
2016 IT Executive Forum for High School Students
The IT Executive Forum for high school students was held on September 15, 2016 at the University of Arkansas campus and saw more than 250 high school students from across Arkansas asking questions of the aforementioned panel of executives like “What is hampering the Windows 10 deployment in the workplace?, How do you combat data breaches in your business?, When hiring what is more important, book smarts or an outgoing personality?” Panelist took turns providing multiple responses from their unique perspectives. Seanne Fry, Information Technology teacher at Northside Fort Smith High School asked “Concerning the information security or cyber security field, are you hiring folks with those degrees or are you training them in house or are they networks guys who show an affinity for it, how do you develop that talent in your businesses?” If you would like to hear the answers to these questions check out the recorded video at: IT Executive Forum Live Video
Over 300 high school students attended last year and asked questions like, "What classes should I take?" "Should I become certified in general office software?" Each panelist took time to explain the types of jobs available in the information technology field and the skill set needed to attain those jobs.
The college students appreciated the chance to discuss specific career opportunities with executives in the industry and garner an understanding of the practical knowledge required to be successful in the field of information technology.