Amanda Sturgill and Randy Piland head to Bangladesh for ICPC World Finals

The School of Communications faculty members and Elon alumna Bettina Johnson '06, G ’11 provided news coverage for the prestigious international programming competition held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Associate Professor Amanda Sturgill and Senior Lecturer Randy Piland stand on the floor of the International Computer Programming Contest on Nov. 10 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The event’s final round featured 137 teams from nearly 70 countries. “It’s a real joy for me to work with some of the very brightest college students and meet people from literally around the globe,” Sturgill said.

Associate Professor Amanda Sturgill, Senior Lecturer Randy Piland and Elon alumna Bettina Johnson ’06, G ’11 provided event coverage Nov. 6-11 as part of a media team for the International Collegiate Programming Contest’s (ICPC) World Finals in Dhaka, Bangladesh. ICPC is hailed as one of the world’s most prestigious computer programming contests for university-level students, and it attracts top students from across the globe.

Piland reviews shots taken at the International Collegiate Programming Contest’s World Finals in Bangladesh.

More than 50,000 students competed in this year’s competition, which featured 137 teams from nearly 70 countries in the contest’s final round. According to Sturgill, contestants work in teams of three to solve more than 10 challenging computer programming problems set by an international cadre of judges. Participants compete for a chance to win prizes and have their institution’s name inscribed on the ICPC Cup.

This year’s winning team was from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), prevailing over runners-up from Peking University in Beijing and the University of Tokyo.

A longtime photojournalist, Piland worked as an event photographer while Sturgill and Johnson served as producers for ICPCNews, the organization’s news platform, overseeing photo, video and social media coverage. Johnson graduated from Elon in 2006 with a degree in journalism and returned to study in the Interactive Media master’s program during the 2010-11 academic year. Currently, she serves as a content marketing and communications manager for IFCO Systems in Germany.

Piland captured this photograph of the victorious Massachusetts Institute of Technology team during the closing ceremony of the ICPC World Finals.

Sturgill and Piland have been regular contributors to past ICPC news coverage, with Sturgill most recently leading an Elon student group at the 2020 North America Championship. Piland has also worked with the contest for several years, traveling to Russia, Thailand, Portugal and other locations as a part of the experience.

“As a journalism faculty member, work like this helps me expand my skill set and to stay current on what is happening in the industry. I bring those experiences right back into the classroom,” Sturgill said. “For example, my analytics writing students will, tomorrow, be doing a strategic analysis of the analytics from our Facebook and YouTube posts during the event.”