Andreas Stefik, assistant professor in the department of computer science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, received the 2011 Java Innovation Award at the recent JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, Calif.
The award, also known as the Duke's Choice Award, recognizes extreme innovation in the world of Java technology and is granted to the most innovative projects using the Java platform.
Stefik and his team of researchers were recognized for working to make the NetBeans development environment accessible to the blind and visually impaired. NetBeans is a specialized computer program that facilitates software development.
Computer programming is more challenging for the blind and visually impaired due to its visual orientation. With support from the National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing program, Stefik's research team aims to empower blind and visually impaired individuals to overcome the barriers of programming and ultimately obtain careers in the computing profession.
Stefik is thrilled to have been nominated and selected by Oracle Corporation, the industry group that presents the award.
"It's a prestigious award to receive and I'm frankly still in a bit of shock that my research group won," he said.
School of Engineering Dean Hasan Sevim said he is not surprised by the honor.
"Andy is a cutting-edge researcher in his field, and I expect him to continue to be recognized for his contributions in the future," he said.
Stefik's interview with NetBeans Zone, a social network for software developers, can be found at http://netbeans.dzone.com/news/sodbeans-netbeans-module-duke-2011-winner?utm