Student awarded golden ticket to Microsoft’s campus

Just as Charlie won a golden ticket to the chocolate factory, computer science senior Drew Scoggins secured a golden ticket – a trip to Microsoft world headquarters in Redmond, Wash. On April 30, 2010, an exceptional group of 50 students were awarded an all-access pass to experience the products, people and culture of Microsoft.

“It was exciting and I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the event,” said Scoggins. “The best part was flying to Seattle, getting an opportunity to be on the Microsoft campus and learning more about the company and their technologies. Overall, I was honored to be invited to the event and thrilled to visit Microsoft.”

Microsoft chose engineering and computer science students from thousands across North America who were nominated by their professors. Gautam Biswas, professor of computer science and professor of computer engineering, nominated Scoggins and Microsoft staff selected him based upon his academic achievements and potential. During the trip, Scoggins was exposed to Microsoft engineers, visionaries, grassroots innovators, unreleased technology and engineering challenges.

“I got to meet other people in the group as well as have very good discussions with the Microsoft employees who attended,” Scoggins said.  “I was able to get a better understanding of exactly what a workday was like, and it left me with a very favorable opinion of Microsoft as a whole. It was also an exciting surprise to learn each of us would be receiving interviews at Microsoft this fall.”

As part of the “golden ticket” students also participated in a programming and engineering competition created to mimic the software design process. The students were challenged to construct a device capable of transporting a ping-pong ball the greatest distance. The contest consisted of three stages – designing, building and testing. Points were given in each category with teams given 15 minutes to design and a hour to build the device.  Scoggins’ team of five people earned third place.