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BHC student overcomes health issues, wins $5,000 IT award

Saturday, May 6, 2006   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Holly Smith

A Black Hawk College student has won $5,000 as one of only two recipients of the 2006 Terry O'Banion Student Technology Champion award from the League for Innovation.

Marty Cox of Moline will receive the $5,000 plus copies of Microsoft software programs. The Terry O'Banion Student Technology Champion award is presented to a student with special talent and interest in a career in technology who also demonstrates a need for financial assistance in meeting his/her career goals.

Cox received the award because he demonstrated a special passion for technology that is leading him to pursue a career in IT. Family responsibilities, personal health struggles and financial need were special considerations. "His dedication and commitment to pursuing a better future for himself and his family is inspirational," said Wendy Neil with the League for Innovation.

Debbie Collins, Black Hawk College assistant professor of computer information technology, nominated Cox. "Marty gets wonderful ideas and just takes off with them," she said.

"Marty re-entered college (after) multiple heart attacks during his late 30s and he decided to change career paths. Living on his spouse's $10-an-hour job while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in Microcomputer Support AAS (associate in applied science degree) has been hard on his family," Collins said.

"His exemplary commitment to moving forward in his career while working to overcome financial and health related issues is admirable," said the League's Wendy Neil. "It is our hope that the honoraria will help Marty complete his education and achieve his degree and career goals."

Cox is president of the Black Hawk College chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (or AITP) and treasurer of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society of the Two-Year College. He is organizing a project between the honor society and technology students to assist area not-for-profit organizations. Black Hawk College students will create Web sites for the organizations at no cost then have it hosted for a small monthly fee.

Cox's nomination will be read during the League's 9th annual Innovations 2006 conference March 19-22 in Atlanta. The League for Innovation is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The League is the only major international organization specifically committed to improving community colleges through innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation.

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