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Students earn first place at 2024 AFCEA Health IT Summit

Created: March 8, 2024  |  Last Updated: March 8, 2024  |  Category: ,   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (March 8, 2024) – A team of Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students earned a first-place distinction at the Ann Kenny Case Competition as part of the 15th Annual Health IT Summit held recently by the Bethesda chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) in Bethesda, Maryland. 

The first-place award included a $15,000 prize for the College.

W&J’s team included:

  • Esha Vaidya (’24)
  • Elijah Muzzi (’24)
  • Antonia Meier (’24)
  • Pooja Jakkampudi (’26)
  • Joshua Chambers (’26)

“It was an incredible opportunity to work with my group members – we all had such varied backgrounds and knowledge bases, so it was super interesting to see what we came up with together,” said Esha Vaidya ‘24, a biochemistry major.

The competition challenged student groups to select one of three current healthcare issues and create an IT solution that could address them.

W&J’s group chose the topic, “Administration of Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR),” and their solution was to integrate IT into the grant writing, selection and dispersal process to expedite grants given out in emergencies.

Their solution suggested the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in two ways. The first was using a fine-tuned version of Google’s BERT model, which would help organize grant requests by significance and predict the impact. They hypothetically called it ROBERT for Request Organizer BERT.

The second was to utilize a generative AI tool, similar to Open AI’s ChatGPT, that could assist in the grant writing process.

“We all worked hard in the week leading up to the competition, so by the time it came to share our ideas, I was so excited to talk about AI-use cases in the grant writing process to the people who are just as passionate about improving the medical grant writing process,” said Elijah Muzzi ‘24, a computing and information studies major and Asian studies minor.

The students attended several conference breakout sessions outside the competition focused on human-centered design and cybersecurity. They also had the opportunity to network with other conference attendees and competition participants.

The conference’s theme, “Strengthening the Citizen Care Experience: What Now? What Next?” highlighted the ongoing journey of transforming the U.S. healthcare system to deliver quality care and improved customer experiences.

Photo caption: (students pictured left to right) Pooja Jakkampudi, Elijah Muzzi, Antonia Meier and Esha Vaidya

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pennsylvania, is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit or call 888-W-AND-JAY.