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Microsoft Announces Recipients of Student Technology Awards for 2000.

ORLANDO, Fla., March 1 /PRNewswire/ --

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced that Nancy Sullivan, a student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Ariz.; Monika Quinnell, a student at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas; and Debora Ann Earixson, a student at Delta College in University City, Mich., are the recipients of Microsoft's Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards for 2000. They were recognized during the League for Innovation in the Community College's Innovations 2000 Conference in Orlando. Each will receive $5,000 to help further their education.

What: Microsoft created the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards to recognize the 30th anniversary of the League for Innovation in the Community College in 1998 and to honor League President Emeritus Terry O'Banion in 1999. As part of its commitment to promoting technology training in the nation's community colleges, Microsoft established two award categories, the Student Technology Champion and the Student Developer Champion, with the League for Innovation to help students further their education through technology and consider pursuing IT careers. These awards recognize community college students for their enthusiasm about technology and commitment to sharing technology with others.

Who: Nancy Sullivan, a student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, is the recipient of the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Champion Award for 2000. Sullivan, a 50-year-old grandmother of five, was nominated for outstanding dedication to academics and the networking technology field and for the sacrifices she has made to pursue a college education while helping support her family. After working in a word-processing job for nine years, Sullivan became a part-time student, earned Microsoft(R) Certified Systems Engineer certification and started a new career as a technical support analyst for a law firm. "Nancy is a role model for women in technology, African-American women and all students. The sacrifices she is making are a demonstration of her passion for technology and education," said Kathy Saucedo, the Chandler-Gilbert faculty member that nominated Sullivan for the award. Sullivan's ultimate goal is a career in software development, and following graduation this spring, she will become a full-time student at Arizona State University East to pursue a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in computer systems administration.

Debora Ann Earixson, a student at Delta College, is the recipient of the Terry O'Banion Student Developer Champion Award for 2000. A single parent with two part-time jobs, Earixson has shown extraordinary commitment to academic excellence while pursuing a career in programming. "Debora is dedicated to obtaining an associate degree in computer science and information technology with a programming option, and her honors and achievements clearly show that she will succeed," said Robert Hoag, the Delta College assistant professor who nominated Earixson for the award. In addition to taking a part-time position at a Veterans Administration Medical Center to obtain computer experience, Earixson has studied software and programming tools including the MS-DOS(R) and Windows(R) operating systems, AS400, Word, Excel, Access, programming logic, systems analysis and design, COBOL, C++, and the Visual Basic(R) development system.

Monika Quinnell, a student at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, is the recipient of a special award recognized by Microsoft's Accessibility Group. Quinnell was nominated for her personal drive and determination, as well as for her commitment to the use of technology to pursue an active life, an education and employment, despite physical disability. Diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in 1995, Quinnell became totally dependent on others to accomplish even the most simple tasks as a result of muscle and bone density loss caused by the RSD. Quinnell turned to technology -- a scooter and a computer -- to regain her independence. Now, through her mastery of Microsoft Office software, her specially designed 7 Key keyboard and her voice-activated software, Quinnell is excelling. Upon graduation from Eastfield this spring, Quinnell plans to pursue a career as a rehabilitative counselor, helping others understand how technology can restore their sense of worth and independence.

How: Each year, League for Innovation member institutions are invited to nominate student technology enthusiasts who demonstrate academic motivation and generosity in sharing their learning with others. Financial need also is a consideration. The League for Innovation facilitates the nomination and selection process, and the final award winners are selected by Microsoft. More information about previous winners can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/education/commcoll/techchamp.asp.

According to research from the Information Technology Association of America, 70 percent of U.S. companies cite the lack of skilled information technology workers as the largest barrier to their future growth. Through programs like the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards, Microsoft is working to encourage students to further their education and set their sights on careers in the IT industry to help meet the growing demand for trained experts to design, implement and support cutting-edge information systems. Microsoft is committed to working with its partners leading the effort to narrow the skills gap for trained IT professionals through various training options, including online delivery and courseware customization, which extends the breadth of training options to students.

NOTE: Microsoft, MS-DOS, Windows and Visual Basic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Joelle McGinnis, or joellemcginnis@grantjacoby.com, or Nicole Junas, nicolejunas@grantjacoby.com, both of Grant/Jacoby Public Relations, 312-664-2055, for Microsoft Corporation.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 7, 2000
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