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 http://library.thinkquest.org/C005824/.
"It's basically a virtual dinosaur museum," Miller
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,"
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.