The Illinois Technology Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of the technology talent pipeline in the State of Illinois.

Illinois Technology Foundation Celebrates Fifty for the Future® Awardees

Over 200 people gathered last night at the Chicago Cultural Center to celebrate the Illinois Technology Foundation’s 2013 Fifty for the Future® awards. Students interested in information technology were recognized by the technology community for being exceptional standouts at their schools.

Fifty college students representing 15 different colleges/universities and 10 high school students representing six different high schools received the awards. In addition to receiving a recognition plaque, each student and their nominating faculty received a $1,000 training scholarship from Directions Training.

Mark Griesbaum, senior vice president and COO from TCS Education System delivered the keynote presentation, and encouraged the students to develop a personal philosophy for success and to always remain relevant by being “lifetime learners”.

Jennifer Didier, president of Directions Training followed Mr. Griesbaum and shared with students the value of industry certifications and a focus on maintaining their technical and business skills.

The evening wrapped up with a cocktail reception.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners.

Safia Abdalla Northside College Prep High School
Zeina Abdul Samad Illinois Institute of Technology
Maxim Agaronov Morris Graduate School of Management
Ayesha Ahmed Oakton Community College
Patrick Andrade Northside College Prep
Edgar Barron Benito Juarez Community Academy
Sharaka Berry George Westinghouse College Prep
Ali Bhujwala University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lawrence Chen Northwestern University
Cary Child Morris Graduate School of Management
Tyler Crane Robert Morris University
Recep Dereli Wilbur Wright College
William Diaz DeVry University
Doug DiChiara Morris Graduate School of Management
Jimmy Dover Jr. George Westinghouse College Prep
Eric Dratnol Augustana College
Jessica Dreher Lewis University
Christopher Durham Illinois State University
Najib El Tecle Northwestern University
Matthew Galloway Notre Dame College Prep
Juanita Garcia Roosevelt University
Steven Geib Northwestern University
Rachel Harsley University of Illinois at Chicago
McClinton Hoover Governors State University
Guadalupe Huerta Lindblom Math and Science Academy
Ryan Jessen Lewis University
Reva Johnson Northwestern University
Soo Kim Northwestern University
Scott Krieder Illinois Institute of Technology
Raymond Laureano Robert Morris University
Gonzalo Lema Northeastern University
Marco Maggioni University of Illinois at Chicago
Athena Mascarenhas Loyola University Chicago
Victor Mateevitsi University of Illinois at Chicago
Trushitha Narla Northside College Preparatory High School
Ryan O’Keefe Lewis University
Scott Oliver Northwestern University
Jon Pankhurst Lewis University
Christopher Pelech Lewis University
Joseph Ponton Governors State University
Kimberly Poole Governors State University
Gina Richard Governors State University
Daniel Rozemberg DePaul University
Laurence Shaw II i.c.stars
Tara Smith Barrington High School
Victoria Spencer George Westinghouse College Prep
Nikolina Spirkovska i.c.stars
Jin Tao Northwestern University
Tom Targosz Moraine Valley Community College
Eric Tendian Illinois Institute of Technology
David Tennant Lewis University
Nisarg Thakkar College of DuPage
Spiro Tromboukis Northwestern University
Mario Vankinscott Morris Graduate School of Management
Juan Vasquez Jr. Lewis University
Abril Vela Northside College Prep
Chen Wang Northwestern University
Jiang Wang Northwestern University
Jung-en Wu Northwestern University
Christian Yenko Northwestern University
Ian Ziarko Lewis University



About the Illinois Technology Foundation:

The Illinois Technology Foundation (ITF) is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the development of the technology pipeline in the State of Illinois.

ITF is a grassroots organization with over 300 passionate volunteers that are focused on developing and retaining the best IT talent and leadership in Illinois by bringing real-world career opportunities to the classroom. In doing this, we enrich the careers of students by helping them find meaningful employment that allows them to pursue their technical aspirations and make valuable contributions to their employers.

ITF focuses on three core areas:

  • Working with k-12 students, encouraging them to pursue a career in technology
  • Assisting college students in the transition from academia to industry
  • Supporting corporations (hiring community) in the continuous development of their technology staff.


Illinois Technology Foundation Partner Sites
Student Tech Club
Center For Innovative Thinking