Wake Tech News

Student Success

Game Development Student Wins National Award

RALEIGH, N.C. (February 15, 2024) – Rachel Huggins, a Wake Tech Simulation and Game Development (SGD) student, has received the 2023-24 Terry O'Banion Student Developer Champion Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The national recognition is given annually to a community college IT student with a career focus in software development.

Huggins was selected based on her special talent in technology, passion for a career in technology and academic excellence. She also wrote a compelling essay about the challenges she faced returning to school as an adult learner balancing family and work.

Huggins is pursuing two SGD associate degrees – Art and Modeling and Programming – and is the vice president of the Wake Tech Game Development Club. She was the leader of the Psycho Punks student game development team last spring, which presented a video game at the East Coast Game Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center, one of the largest gatherings of video game professionals and future game developers on the East Coast.

SGD Department Head Ken Turner nominated Huggins and praised her initiative, leadership and exceptional 3D modeling and programming skills.

"Rachel's ability to dissect complex issues into manageable components and apply a structured, logical approach to problem solving is impressive," Turner said. "Whether faced with intricate coding challenges or real-world applications, she exhibits a deep understanding of programming languages and an innate talent for translating abstract concepts into practical solutions. Rachel's dedication to honing her skills and sharing her knowledge to other students sets her apart."

Huggins received a $1,000 cash prize and a plaque commemorating her achievement. She will graduate in December, and she is considering pursuing her bachelor's degree in art and design, with the goal of becoming a 3D or visual effects artist.

"Being bestowed with the Terry O'Banion Student Developer Champion Award is an immense privilege," she said. "The acknowledgement humbles me, and the achievement serves as a powerful motivator that hard work is recognized, even when you least expect it."

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. It serves as a catalyst for introducing and sustaining deep, transformational innovation within and across college and international borders to increase student success and institutional excellence.

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April 2024

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