A team of Wright State University management information systems students won a regional technology award for developing a machine learning algorithm that can predict home values.
Matthew Cavender and Cameron Cross, both of whom are expected to graduate from Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business in December, won Technology First’s Award of Excellence in the Student Project category. The award is presented to an information technology college student or team that exhibited excellence while delivering a capstone project.
In addition, Donald Hopkins, interim dean of the Raj Soin College of Business, received the Legacy of Leadership Award, Technology First’s highest recognition. The award honors the culmination of a career dedicated to connecting, strengthening and championing the Dayton tech community.
Cavender, Cross and Hopkins were honored at the 10th annual Technology First Leadership Awards ceremony on Nov. 8.
Technology First is a Dayton-area group of information technology companies.
Cavender and Cross were honored for their project predicting house prices in King County, Washington, using an extensive publicly available dataset. Cavender and Cross developed a machine learning algorithm similar to Zillow’s Zestimate, allowing them to predict home values and the key drivers behind real estate pricing decisions.
“What truly sets Matthew and Cameron apart is their extraordinary commitment to applying their knowledge and skills to solve real-world challenges and a commitment to the industry,” Technology First said.
The project was their capstone in a course taught by Amir Zadeh, Ph.D., professor of information systems and supply chain management.
“Beginning with their collaborative efforts on a class project in our undergraduate course, Data Mining for Business, their innovative work in data analytics — particularly a project predicting house prices — not only showcases academic excellence but also a commitment to real-world problem-solving,” Zadeh said. “I’m immensely proud of their achievements and look forward to witnessing their continued success in the future.”
Cross said that working with Zadeh on the project helped him learn more about data analytics and provided him with tools he can use in the real world to analyze data and make decisions.
“We put so much time and work into this project and it was an honor to be recognized for such a prestigious award,” Cross said. “I am thankful for the professors within the MIS program for giving us the opportunities to work on these real-world projects.”
Michael Asomani, who graduated from Wright State in 2022 with a master’s degree in information systems, was also a finalist for the Award of Excellence for College Student Project for “Gauging Service Performance via Sentiment Analysis: The USPS Case.”
Hopkins was appointed interim dean of the Raj Soin College of Business last summer. He has served as director of the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management Graduate Programs since 2016 and adjunct assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management since 2004. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the MBA, Information Systems, and Logistics and Supply Chain Management programs.
He has served on advisory boards for the Wright State College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management and at the University of Dayton, Miami University and Indiana University.
Hopkins has more than 35 years of business experience, including 15 years as an executive with NCR Corporation in Dayton, SunGard Availability Services in Philadelphia and International Game Technology in Reno, Nevada.
He is also a long-time board member and former board chair of Technology First.
His peers describe him as a battle-tested, tremendously capable IT executive with unwavering ethics who not only knows rules but also exceptions, leading teams to get things done in the face of any obstacle.
Hopkins demonstrates “his immense value to our community as he continues to give of his time to students, his peers, the community and ultimately the industry through his legacy of leadership,” Technology First said.
He received his Master of Business Administration and master’s degrees in mathematics, school administration and computer science from the University of Dayton and his bachelor’s degree in mathematics/physics from Miami University.