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Championing Technology Students: Annual Awards Presented at League’s Innovations Conference

March 2012, Volume 15, Number 3

From the Editor

At the recent Innovations Conference in Philadelphia, the League for Innovation in the Community College honored three community college technology students with the 2012 Terry O’Banion Student Technology Awards. The three recipients were recognized at a general session keynoted by the award’s namesake, Terry O’Banion, who joined League President and CEO Gerardo E. de los Santos in presenting the awards. The Student Technology Award recipients are Jason Clinkscale, a programming and development student at Cuyahoga Community College–Eastern  Campus in Highland Hills, Ohio; John W. Tyler, an information technology and networking major at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Justin G. Cree, an instructional technology student at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois.

From left to right, League President and CEO Gerardo E. de los Santos with Student Technology Award winners Justin G. Cree, John W. Tyler, Jason Clinkscale, and the award’s namesake, Terry O’Banion, at the League’s Innovations Conference

Jason Clinkscale. At Cuyahoga Community College’s Eastern Campus, Jason Clinkscale is active in the Computer Club and in weekly campus tutoring sessions. He has experience in several languages, ranging from C and BASIC to his current pursuit of mastery in Java. A self-guided learner, Jason has a passion for programming exemplified by his spending the winter break developing a poker application in C. His continued work on this application provides him welcome opportunities to use new tools that will better enable him as a developer.

Although Jason has installed and learned to use several commercial operating systems, he is a strong believer in open-source development tools and uses Eclipse and other open-source development environments. He is an enthusiastic developer and a model developer champion, whether leading discussions on development topics with fellow students or building new applications on his own. His nominating faculty member, James Leasure, is certain that Jason has the potential to achieve his goal of becoming a professional software developer; however, financial need is a major obstacle to his success. Jason is unemployed and pays for his current classes himself. Leasure believes that if Jason can overcome the challenges he faces, “he will be a strong advocate for software development for years to come and would make the most of this opportunity.”

John W. Tyler. Anita L. Sutton, associate professor at Germanna Community College, began her nomination letter with a bold claim: “John W. Tyler is the definition of a technology champion.” She then proceeded to support this claim with facts and insights that led to John’s selection for this award. An Information Technology – Networking major, John maintains a 3.85 grade point average and, in addition to excelling in his academic career, is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, Psi Beta, Student Government, and other student organizations. While continuously challenging himself to learn more, he also tutors other students to help them succeed in their course work. His creativity, drive, and dedication are evident in his community service work, in which he creates websites for local nonprofit agencies as a free service. He was recently recognized by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce for creating a website for the Thurman Brisbane Men’s Shelter.

John’s positive spirit and ability to overcome adversity are best demonstrated by the personal difficulties he is facing. After surviving Hurricane Katrina, John and his young family relocated to Virginia to start a new life. During the past 18 months, John has battled lymphoma, receiving treatment several times a week and occasionally having to stay in the hospital. John acknowledges that his growing family—he and his wife are expecting their second child this month—is having serious financial troubles, and he is eager to graduate and find employment to improve his family’s financial status. Despite the setbacks and challenges in John’s life, and regardless of how sick he feels, he remains a positive influence in the classroom, a true technology champion in the college and community.

Justin G. Cree. Linda Lee, an instructor at Carl Sandburg College, explained when nominating Justin Lee that, like many first-time college students, Justin’s first attempt at college life did not go well. In fact, within a year, Justin found himself with two DUIs, without a drivers’ license, and with a transcript reflecting his status as a college drop-out. Then, at age 26, he realized that he needed to make some changes in his life. With strong support from his family and a new wife who saw his potential, Justin decided to try college again. It hasn’t been easy, but he has persevered.

During the last 4 years, Justin has been working two to three jobs. Soon after starting classes, he found out that his wife was pregnant, and within a short time they learned that their child would need heart surgery. Although discouraged, Justin knew that to provide a better life for his wife and son, he could not quit—and he hasn’t. Instead, he has remained steadfastly conscientious in his work, achieving a 3.8 grade point average and providing an example to other students and engaging them with his enthusiasm. He is patient with others and displays strong leadership potential. One of his part-time jobs is in another college’s IT department, and his colleagues there are thrilled to have him. Justin is well on his way to becoming a successful Instructional Technology specialist.

Terry O’Banion Student Technology Awards. Each year, the League for Innovation in the Community College invites all League Board and Alliance member colleges to nominate two outstanding community college technology students for the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards. The awards honor deserving students with special talent in technology, strong financial need, and a passion about moving toward a career in technology. Each Terry O'Banion Student Technology Award winner receives a check for $1,000 to be used toward their educational expenses.

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 03/19/2012 at 9:50 AM | Categories: Learning Abstracts -