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For Immediate Release (01-18)
Date: March 2, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Professor Wins
Microsoft Technology Award for Classroom Innovation

On her first day of work at Montgomery College’s Information Technology Institute, back in January 1999, Vicki Duggan, a newly minted professor and project manager, was handed two weighty assignments: Develop a "boot camp" to train career changers for technology jobs and create a computer camp for girls.

After Duggan caught her breath, she rolled up her sleeves and, in short order, rolled out two highly successful programs.

Now, the Microsoft Corporation has recognized her innovations with the David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award, which rewards community college faculty for exceptional uses of information technology in the classroom.

Named for a former president of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), David R. Pierce, for his long-standing commitment to technology in higher education, the award is sponsored by Microsoft Corp. Winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

Duggan, a Derwood resident, won for two programs: Tech LEAP and GURL Power. Tech LEAP, or Technology Leading Edge Apprenticeship Program, was started in 1999 to create information technology workers to meet the needs of area employers.

Through an intensive six-month program tailored to meeting the needs of the local business community, Tech LEAP takes adults who already have degrees and want to change careers and retrains for work in the information technology field. Classes initially cover basic subjects such as office applications, software design, computer architecture, security, and operating systems, and move to an intense study of computer programming or networking. Students spend the last two months of the program in paid internships with companies such as General Electric, Lockheed Martin, ACS Government Solutions Group, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Westat, and Montgomery County government.

In 1999, Duggan also created a summer camp for middle school girls, in which the participants learned to create Web sites. The goal of GURL Power – named by the girls during the first camp, as a play on the Internet term: URL – is to encourage more women to go into information technology careers.

Duggan worked with local schools and area organizations to develop the camp, and in its second year, GURL Power expanded its constituency. The Montgomery County Commission for Women and the High Technology Council of Maryland provided scholarships for low-income, middle school, English-as-a-second-language girls, and a bilingual teacher taught the camp in English and Spanish.

"I was shocked when I was told I was a finalist," said Duggan, who was not aware she had been nominated. "It was quite a surprise and honor to be selected out of 130 faculty nationwide who were nominated for this award."

Prior to coming to Montgomery College, Duggan worked in the information technology in private industry for 15 years, managing IT professionals. "This work [at Montgomery College] has been the most rewarding work that I have ever done," Duggan said.

Duggan will receive her award at the 81st Annual American Association of Community Colleges' Convention in April in Chicago.

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