Outstanding Students of the Year - Coastal Carolina University
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Outstanding Students of the Year

The Department of Computing Sciences Outstanding Students were recognized at Honors Convocation.  The Honors Convocation is a singular occasion for the faculty's recognition of outstanding academic achievement by our students and colleagues. To emphasize the academic significance of this occasion, recognitions are limited to the academic awards, HTC Honors College graduates, acknowledgement of Dyer Fellows, Jackson Scholars, Swain Scholars, Teaching Fellows and Wall Fellows, the Distinguished Student Award, the Distinguished Professor of the Year Award and the Undergraduate Research Competition Awards.

Below are the 2023 Students of the Year:

Santee Cooper Master of Science in Information Systems Technology

2023 MSIST Student of the Year - James OlivenciaJames Olivencia is from Long Island, NY but has lived in Murrells Inlet, SC for the past six years. He received his teaching degree from Coastal Carolina University and has been a teacher for Horry County Schools for the past three years. He is interested in Network Security and Artificial Intelligence and hopes to apply the knowledge of what he learned in the MSIST program in his future career path.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

2023 Student of the Year - CS - Auston HeflingAuston Hefling is from Northport, WA, and did not attend any formal schooling before coming to Coastal Carolina University. Instead, he acquired his GED and enlisting in the U.S. Army, and worked over the course of 4 years to earn the G.I. Bill, which he has used to help pay for his tuition. Since arriving at CCU, he has been placed on the Presidents list for all but one semester, where he was placed on the Dean's list. He is set to graduate with the Summa Cum Laude honor in May of 2023. For most of Auston's time at CCU, he has worked as a Computer Science Department tutor, as well as a Student Research Intern with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dr. Jones of CCU, doing various tasks including Neural Net, Machine Learning, and AI research. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in software engineering and related fields

Bachelor of Science in Information Systems 

2023 Student of the Year - CS - Elyssa SextonElyssa Sexton is from Lancaster, South Carolina, and has spent her time at Coastal Carolina pursuing a B.S. in Information Systems with a minor in Graphic Design. She was dedicated to her academics, earning five semesters on the President’s List and three on the Dean’s List. Alongside this, she has been a member of the international honor society Upsilon Pi Epsilon since 2021. Elyssa was also actively involved on campus, spending three years working for New Student Orientation, serving two years as a Building Manager in the Student Union, and spending her Senior year as a Resident Advisor in Eaglin Hall. Upon graduation, she plans to move to Nashville, Tennessee to begin her career as a Consultant at Capgemini.

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology 

2023 Student of the Year - CS - Breanna ThornellBreanna Thornell hails from Andrews, S.C., and attended Andrews High School where she graduated salutatorian of her class. While attending Coastal Carolina as an Information Technology major, she has earned a spot on the President’s List for four semesters and a spot on the Dean’s List for one semester. Breanna is enrolled in the Degree in Three program, and she is attending Coastal Carolina on the Presidential Scholarship and the SC Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. She will be graduating with the Summa Cum Laude honor in May. In her senior capstone course, she worked with two fellow students to implement a class Web Stack on Alpine Linux. Upon graduation, Breanna plans to pursue a career in web development.