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This just in from IBM Academic Initiative System z!

The IBM Academic Initiative System z has a few quick announcements that may be of interest to you and your students this semester:

1.  IBM Master the Mainframe Contest

Registration for the 2011 IBM Master the Mainframe Contest is now open for students across the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec).  This year, the IBM Academic Initiative System z team is giving away over $35,000 in prizes, including Samsung Galaxy tablet computers, T-shirts, pre-paid debit cards and trips to the mainframe lab in Poughkeepsie, NY.  No mainframe or large systems experience is necessary.

Contest homepage: http://ibm.com/university/contest

Students can access the simple registration form from that page.  We also put a link to a printable PDF Flyer on the homepage to help promote the contest to your students.  

The contest, which begins on October 3, is an educational tool that progresses in difficulty and prize value as contestants complete hands-on tasks, logging into a remote mainframe system from their own workstations.  Many professors offer the contest as extra credit or a mandatory assignment — if you are interested in receiving reports on your students’ progress to help with your grading, you can request them from me (todd@us.ibm.com) at any time.  The contest runs through December 28.

This year, the custom Master the Mainframe Contest T-shirt (the prize for being among the first 1,500 contestants to complete Part 1) will feature “tour dates” on the back, which will match the hometowns of the 50 schools that have the most registrants as of October 3.  Students who complete Part 2 of the contest will also be invited to put their resumes into the Student Opportunity System, a recruiting tool for enterprise systems employers.  We’ll be directing interested recruiters to link up with your students through that system, and also for students to use their mainframe skills to help them apply for the jobs on our new System z Job Board at systemzjobs.com.

2.  Destination z Enterprise Computing Scholarship

This semester, the IBM Destination z community will be accepting student applications for the fourth annual Destination z Enterprise Computing Scholarship.  This scholarship is awarded to students at Destination z member schools who have demonstrated excellence in their mainframe coursework, and who plan to continue their academic and professional development on the platform.  If your school is interested in joining Destination z so that your students will be eligible for the scholarship, please visit the simple enrollment form.  Further instructions will go out to Destination z member schools when the student application window opens in October.

3.  IBM Academic Initiative System z Facebook page

If you’d like to keep up on the latest IBM Academic Initiative System z news, please follow us on our new Facebook page.  We encourage you to post information about your own enterprise computing programs there as well.

We hope to see you on Facebook, and to see your students winning scholarships and Mastering the Mainframe this fall.  Best wishes for a successful semester!