Pictured above, From l. to r.: Earl Pike, Sean Tyrer, David Miller and Christopher Mitchell present their work for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree at Tennessee Tech’s recent Senior Design Expo. Not pictured, teammate Destin Harris. 

Project was senior capstone project

Cookeville – As musicians take the stage for the 52nd Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree this June 30-July 1, little do they know that a group of recent graduates from Tennessee Tech University helped make this year’s registration much smoother.

Computer science majors Earl Pike of Knoxville; Christopher Mitchell of Smithville; Justin Miller of Chattanooga; Destin Harris of Knoxville and Sean Tyrer of Elk Rapids, Michigan, were responsible for designing a new database for the Jamboree’s contestant registration system.

The project was their senior capstone project, which they picked from a list that described a number of projects without mentioning the name of the organizations the projects were for. Once the team was formed, the organizations were revealed.

“When we found out it was the Jamboree, we were excited!” Pike said. “I have a deep connection with my Appalachian heritage and being able to bring that forward in time and be a part of that cultural preservation is awesome.”

Tyer described what drew him to the project in the first place: “I decided to put this one on my list of interesting projects due to how it could help improve not only my web development skills, but also backend coding skills.”

The new system that the team created allows the event organizers to more easily keep track of the contestants registered for each musical competition. It displays to organizers the city each contestant is from, how many are competing in each division, if the person has paid the registration fee and other information vital to the organization of the bluegrass and Appalachian music and dance competitions that draws thousands of spectators every year.

“I hope that it will improve registration speeds and make keeping track of registrations easy for those using the system,” Mitchell said.

Organizers of the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree say they are very pleased with the results.

“The computer science capstone group has created an innovative registration system for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree that promises to take the event to greater heights,” said Ethan Shaw, Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree board member. “Thanks to the team’s hard work and expertise, the new system is highly versatile, enabling us to add, modify, or eliminate event categories with ease. This was a significant upgrade from our previous registration system, which was not as flexible.”

“I hope that this project will make the lives of the registrars for the event easier,” said Miller. “I know how much of a hassle it can be to manually enter data or try to add things to a database and have it crash. My main hope for this project is that they will be able to use it for years to come, hassle free!”

Each of the team members graduated from Tech this past spring and are moving on to start their careers in fields that include cybersecurity, web development and even a computer scientist in the U.S. Navy’s largest command center in Virginia. They all mentioned they had chosen Tech as their university due to several factors, including the reputation of its programs, scholarship options and the closeness to home.

“I chose to come to Tech because of the engineering program, as well as how affordable it is compared to other colleges,” Miller said. “The engineering program itself is very high quality, and to be able to get such a good education for a relatively cheap price made the choice very easy.”

As preparations for the Jamboree are underway, those using the new system thanked the Tech graduates for their work.

“The capstone group’s contribution has opened up endless possibilities for the Jamboree’s future technological growth, as we can now explore and leverage multiple avenues of technological innovation,” Shaw said. “We cannot express enough gratitude to the Tennessee Tech computer science department for their partnership and invaluable assistance. The Jamboree is immensely proud of what this group has achieved and what it means for our future. As a former Tennessee Tech capstone student, I knew that the Jamboree was fortunate to partner with Tech on this exciting project.”

Photo courtesy of Tech.

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