Jelani Nelson wins ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions
Computer science professor Jelani Nelson has been named the winner of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within computer science and informatics. He was honored for founding and developing AddisCoder, a nonprofit that teaches programming to underserved students in Ethiopia.
Started in 2011, AddisCoder serves high school students across the country, who travel to Addis Ababa in the summer for four weeks of intensive training. The program exposes students to the basics of Python programming, as well as fundamental ideas in algorithm design and analysis. The experience, including room and board, remains 100% free of charge, thanks to donor support.
“AddisCoder is a huge team effort,” Nelson wrote in a tweet, “and much recognition goes to our former co-organizer the Meles Zenawi Foundation and our partner the Ministry of Education Ethiopia, without whom we would have never expanded beyond Addis Ababa, to serve students across the country.”
The nonprofit’s rigorous training has helped many students reach higher education and successful careers. According to the press release, alumni have enrolled at universities such as Harvard, MIT and Princeton, as well as found careers at technology companies such as Google.