The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


MSJ students shine at TSA State Conference

By Staff Writer Rishi Chillara

MSJ Technology Student Association (TSA) traveled to CA State University, Bakersfield to compete at the CA TSA State Conference from March 24 to 25. The chapter, now in its third year, sent 11 members to compete in 10 events against hundreds of other attendees.

The conference started on Saturday at the Welcome Ceremony where state officers, including  State Reporter Junior Kanav Kalucha and State Sergeant-at-Arms Junior Jonathan Ko, welcomed all attendees and kicked off the conference. Kalucha and Ko also serve as chapter officers, with Kalucha in his second term as Chapter Vice President and Ko in his third term as Chapter President.

From there, attendees competed in their respective events all afternoon. Afterward, competitors had the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of planned activities such as a video game competition and mini-carnival.

The conference concluded with the Awards Ceremony on Sunday morning, where competitors were honored based on their performance.

MSJ won a total of 12 top-three awards, most notably finishing first in the team events of Biotechnology Design, Coding, and Music Production. This is the second year in a row that the chapter won Biotechnology Design and Coding.

The team’s individuals also performed admirably, with Freshmen Yusuf Rasheed, Varun Upadhyay, and Ko all placing first in individual events.

Ten out of 11 competitors qualified to the 2018 National TSA Conference, which will be held June 22 to 26 in Atlanta, GA. Building off of its 11-medal performance from last year, MSJ established itself as a state-level juggernaut by winning medals in nearly every event entered.

Competitors had the opportunity to compete in a variety of events that tested their knowledge and skill in a wide variety of fields ranging from STEM to public speaking. Team events like Engineering Design required competitors to create portfolios and presentations on their topics while individual events like Extemporaneous Speech required competitors to create a speech on a technology-related topic on the spot.

There were also several events that did not easily fall into broader categories, such as Technology Bowl, a buzzer-style competition, and Coding, an olympiad-format programming test.

Kalucha said, “TSA really prepares students for their careers and beyond by allowing them to explore a range of technology-based events, each of which covers many relevant hard and soft skills.”

MSJ expects to send more than 20 members to the National Conference this year, where it hopes to improve even further on its five-finalist performance at the 2017 National Conference.

Ko said, “I’m incredibly proud of how far this chapter has come, especially the underclassmen who went toe-to-toe with four-year veterans at this conference. Looking ahead to the National Conference, we’re hoping to make the name of MSJ known by bringing home as many trophies as possible.”

Photo Courtesy Forest Lin 

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