Friday, March 23, 2001
Page 2A

UI soph wins Web page scholarship

A "virtual dinosaur museum" nets Brandon Miller $15,000.

By Sara Faiwell
The Daily Iowan


A UI sophomore in the College of Business who designed a Web page last summer returned Wednesday from an all-expenses paid trip to Geneva with a $15,000 scholarship.

Brandon Miller of Clarion, Iowa, was a finalist in the ThinkQuest Internet Challenge held March 17-19 at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in Geneva. During the trip, he was awarded a scholarship for first place in his division.

ThinkQuest matches people from around the world to work together through e-mail and instant messaging on the computer. Miller had the opportunity to meet his Web page co-designers only once before the trip to Switzerland.

Miller, along with two high school students from Minnesota, created a Web site called Dinosaur Treks. The site, geared toward teaching middle and elementary school students about dinosaurs, is set up as an interactive game for students. It can be accessed at

"It's basically a virtual dinosaur museum," Miller said.

The site has approximately 2,000 files and took each of the participants about 500-700 hours to complete.

Miller's team was included in the math and science division of the competition and was one of five that earned the trip to Geneva to compete. The five teams were chosen from an original 275 Web site teams.

For placing first in the division, students took home $15,000 scholarships and the coaches won $3,000 in cash. The high schools Miller and his partners attended also received $1,000.

"It is kind of like a Nobel Prize for Web designers. We had a great time, and it was really a good opportunity," he said.

One of their two coaches, Joshua Barnd, a high-school science teacher from Jordan, Minn., said the team worked great together, especially considering the members only had the chance to meet one time before going to Geneva.

"I was not really surprised that we got first place in our division because we were really going for it from day one. We tried for something different and unique from all the other sites out there," Barnd said.

Miller began designing Web pages as a sophomore in high school. He is currently works on a site for the Undergraduate Writing Program in the College of Business.

DI reporter Sara Faiwell can be reached at:

Copyright 2001 The Daily Iowan