ACC student awarded national Student Technology Champion

Austin Community College District (ACC) student Jack Russell was named a 2020-21 Student Technology Champion by the League for Innovation in the Community College. He was selected for the Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award. The recognition is the only one of its kind nationwide and is awarded to a community college student with a talent and passion for technology.

Jack Russell"Jack has an inquiring mind, ambition to succeed, and also brings great energy to the classroom,” says Carl Gregory, ACC programming instructor. “He is driven by his passion and interest to initiate change in the organizations he is a part of, in our community, and the world. His eagerness and excitement to learn, solve problems, and create change is admired.”

Russell came to ACC with dual-credit and AP courses and experience in coding with Java. He created Java programs using artificial intelligence components for a game called Game of Amazons. The game uses multi-level array looping, object-oriented program structure, and problem-solving with algorithms to compare the risk and reward of each possible move. He is proficient in both Java and Python as well as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap. 

“He can pick up concepts quickly and apply them to projects. He learns beyond the classroom and uses his problem-solving skills to teach others,” says Mary Kohls, ACC Computer Science and IT department chair. “He’s learned through hard work, leadership skills, and accountability that he can achieve his goals.”

Russell funds his own education by working at HEB part time. While working and attending classes, he’s managed to maintain a 3.85 GPA and serve in leadership positions in several ACC student organizations. He also volunteers in the classroom teaching elementary and middle school students to code.

Russell was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and volunteered to serve as chair of the college’s “Voice of the Student Project” — working directly with college administration to create a leadership and equity badging program. 

As recipient of the Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award, Russell receives recognition on the League’s website, a plaque, and a $2,500 check for educational expenses. 

The award will be mailed to Russell and announced during the League for Innovation’s virtual 2021 Innovations Conference in March.

To learn more about ACC's IT programs, visit the CS/IT Area of Study page.