Incoming Auburn freshman crowned world PowerPoint champion

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From Olympic Gold medalists to a Women’s Basketball World Cup winner, Auburn University has no shortage of world champions. Now, incoming freshman Seth Maddox can add his name to that exclusive list.

Maddox was crowned the 2019 Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint World Champion in New York on July 31. The 18-year-old showed off his presentation skills in the 2016 version of PowerPoint by dispatching 23 competitors from around the world to win the title and a $7,000 prize.

Maddox qualified for the world championship by winning the 2019 Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint National Championship in June, emerging from a field of 146 finalists after beating out 365,000 competitors who participated in the preliminary round.

“The world championship exam was quite a bit harder, so I was very surprised that I won,” said Maddox, who plans to study computer engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “I thank the Lord that I was able to do as well as I did and win the competition.”

The competition, sponsored by IT certification exam company Certiport, tests students on their abilities and efficiency using Microsoft Office products. For the world championship, the competitors were tasked with re-creating a printed PowerPoint presentation using the program’s full functionality during a timed exam.

The competition was a natural fit for the longtime technology buff, who graduated from Geraldine High School in north Alabama.

“I’ve been in love with computers for a long time—every aspect of them and technology in general,” Maddox said. “As a child, I started taking apart an old cathode-ray tube TV and then moved on to computers. That’s why I want to study computer engineering. I am extremely intrigued with what computers can do and how I can better utilize them.”

Maddox looks forward to beginning his studies at Auburn and learning more about different computer architectures as well as software engineering. He also wants to get involved in the Student Projects and Research Committee, a student-led organization that encourages creativity and innovation through collaborative projects.

When considering his college options, Maddox said Auburn’s renowned College of Engineering was a major factor in his decision to choose Auburn. But just like generations of other Auburn students, he was also captivated by the campus atmosphere.

“Auburn just has something special about it,” he said. “The campus has beautiful architecture, and everyone I met was so friendly. I loved the campus and I’m excited to start at Auburn.”

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