League for Innovation Announces 2023-2024 Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award Winners


The League for Innovation in the Community College is pleased to announce the selection of the 2023-2024 Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award winners. The awards are presented to students pursuing their education and a career in technology, and given annually in honor of Terry O’Banion, Senior League Fellow and President Emeritus of the League.

Award winners are designated as Student Technology Champion or Student Developer Champion. Student Technology Champion awards are presented to students with a career interest in a technology field. Student Developer Champion awards are presented to students with a career focus specifically in software development. Each winner will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to be used toward their educational expenses and a plaque commemorating their achievement. Award winners will be announced at the Innovations Conference in March 2023.

These outstanding students demonstrate a passion for technology, a commitment to their education and community, and financial need.

Student Developer Champion: Rachel Huggins

Rachel Huggins is pursuing two A.A.S. degrees at Wake Technical Community College: Art and Modeling, and Programming. According to the college’s Simulation and Game Development Department Head, Ken Turner, “Rachel is an active and inquisitive learner who constantly seeks to broaden her toolkit of techniques, including a wide array of software and programming languages.” He notes that, despite her full-time work schedule, her “insatiable curiosity” drives her to explore novel ways of innovating and enhancing course projects. She also embraces ambitious approaches and refuses to settle for conventional solutions. Rachel serves as Vice President of the game club, regularly offers her expertise to peers, and was on the Dean’s List both semesters in 2022-2023.

Student Technology Champion: Drew Dearden

Drew Dearden, a student at Montgomery County Community College, is working toward a degree in cybersecurity with the goal of providing support to law enforcement. He demonstrates technological skills related to network infrastructure and routinely takes on challenging projects, often in a leadership role. Drew, a Marine Corps veteran, works part time at the college’s IT Help Desk, assisting students and staff with a variety of issues, and attends meetings with the IT security team to stay apprised of current threats or problems. Celeste M. Schwartz, Vice President, Information Technology and College Services, states that he has had to overcome obstacles to further his education, but has made the Dean’s List every semester and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

Learn more about the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards here.