Rebekah Brancato News Editor
Eastern’s Business Information Systems–Association of Information Technology Professionals (BIS-AITP) chapter is an academic club for students interested in computer science and business information systems.
Originally founded as the BIS club in 2004, it officially became a student chapter of AITP in 2007. AITP is a non-profit professional association first organized in 1949, and now has over 280 student chapters across the United States. The association also merged with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) last year, giving students a free national CompTIA membership, resume and job posting services, and free or reduced prices on CompTIA certification exams.
Eastern’s BIS-AITP chapter initially focused on guest speakers, but has since grown to complete fundraising activities, attend national conferences, and compete in various individual or group contests and competitions. In addition, “the club is excited and thankful about finally getting a BIS lab,” said Dr. Citurs, who is the club’s advisor and the BIS program coordinator, referring to the program’s brand-new lab space in Webb 311. Upcoming events for the semester include a visit to IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Nov. 9, as well as a visit to the Cambridge Innovation Center and other companies in the greater Boston area on Nov. 16.
“The hallmark of our chapter has been our year long five phased database driven website team contest, where students work with area non-profits to make a database driven website,” stated Dr. Citurs. Each year AITP hosts the Annual AITP National Collegiate Conference and holds a Database Driven Website Competition. From 2008 to 2017, Eastern’s AITP chapter has placed within the top ten in the nation for this competition eight times, and obtained an honorable mention six times. In 2010, they finished in first place out of the more than 200 competing collegiate chapters, and finished in fourth place last year in 2017.
Not only does this contest benefit the non-profit organizations that AITP builds the websites for, but it also helps students build important skills and employability. “AITP leaders and contest project leaders are employed as young professionals and leaders at major Connecticut and New England employers such as Pfizer, Cigna, General Dynamics, UTC, Travelers, and the Hartford,” stated Dr. Citurs. The AITP chapter also has close ties with Cigna and Travelers, who help sponsor on-campus resume and cover letter workshops, mock interview sessions, tutorial workshops, and panels on new business topics and technologies.
The chapter also allows students to delve into deeper topics that are not fully covered in the BIS or computer science curriculum, as well as creating a venue to engage employers and alumni. “My favorite part about the club is making friendships and professional connections,” said Peter Ereshena, who is the vice president of the chapter.
“The AITP chapter is encouraged for any student with a BIS or computer science related major or minor,” said Dr. Citurs. The club meets every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Webb 311. For more information, visit their page on Eastern’s website. To see upcoming or past events, visit the Business Administration department page.