Matthew Hartmann, of Blue Island, won the 2018 Terry O’Banion Student Developer Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College. This is the fifth time a Moraine Valley Community College student has received the award in the last eight years.
Instead of just going to class and absorbing lessons from the day, Hartmann tries to apply that knowledge outside the campus walls and learn more. His perseverance and motivation earned him this prestigious award.
The League for Innovation in the Community College is a consortium of community colleges that aims to encourage innovation and experimentation in all areas of a college’s development. This particular award is presented annually to a student preparing for a career in software development.
Since he was young, Hartmann would take apart and put computers back together. Rough hardships at home, however, forced Hartmann to establish independence early and harness his own motivation. Always fascinated with technology, he wanted structure to learn more about computers and software, which led him to Moraine Valley. While taking one particular programming class, he developed a simple app, U-Pick Restaurant Picker. If someone can’t decide what or where to eat, this app helps make the decision.
“You can only learn so much in class, and I wanted to apply what I learned. I try to push beyond what we’re doing in class to understand and apply it. It’s something I can put on a résumé,” said Hartmann, who aspires to become a software or app developer. “Moraine Valley incubated my passion for programming. The faculty inspired me to go further and taught me a lot.”
Michelle August, Moraine Valley department chair of Information Management Systems, nominated Hartmann, who is on the President’s List and will receive four certificates in programming in addition to one he already has earned.
“Matt has passion, tremendous talent, natural skill for analyzing problems and a strong work ethic that emerged from challenging times. I have no doubt he is going to be at the top of his field and make a difference in people’s lives with the applications he develops. He is a role model for other struggling students determined to realize their dreams,” August said.
The selection committee chose Hartmann because of his ability to overcome difficult circumstances coupled with his academic performance and ability to impact the field while still in college.
“I was surprised, honored and humbled to be chosen for this award among so many qualified people. It feels good,” Hartmann said.