Austin Community College District (ACC) is celebrating the achievements of its graduates. The college’s Alumni Network hosted the inaugural Alumni Achievement Awards in June 2024. Five distinguished alumni were honored for their professional and civic contributions. Join ACC in celebrating their accomplishments, and watch the awards ceremony below.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Julie Strickland — Subcontract Program Manager & Spacesuit Engineer at Collins Aerospace
Julie works at Collins Aerospace and is a Space Suit Engineer. She’s on the team to design and produce the next generation of the NASA spacesuit. She helped to write the proposal that her company submitted. The proposal was accepted, and she works full-time on a $3.5 billion project. She is also an innovator in her field and has been awarded two patents, including one for a carbon dioxide sublimation generator. She has two provisional patents and about a dozen other patents pending. She serves as Outreach Lead and Intern Coordinator at Collins’ Houston Spaceport site. Outside of work, she serves on the board of directors for High-Tech High Heels, a nonprofit that donates funding to STEM events, emphasizing young ladies and underserved communities.

Alumni Service Award: Ed Latson — CEO of Opportunity Austin
Ed is an experienced leader and advocate for business, emphasizing Central Texas Manufacturing. Currently, Ed is leading Opportunity Austin and has also been the lead for the Austin Regional Manufacturer’s Association (ARMA). He is a leading supporter of ACC’s manufacturing programs and provided critical guidance during the developmenting of the college’s IMPACT Lab and manufacturing bachelor’s degree program. Ed has said: “ACC’s Impact Lab is a manifestation of a vision, hope, and wish of a thriving manufacturing community here in Central Texas. (This college) changes lives.”

Riverbat-Owned Business of the Year: Gregory Gibson, Jr. — Founder of Black Sports Business Symposium & HBCU Battle of the Brains
Gregory is the Founder and Executive Director of the HBCU Battle of the Brains. A tech and branding entrepreneur, Gregory has found his calling, working to provide opportunities for individuals in industries in which they are underrepresented. HBCU Battle of the Brains LLC’s mission is to address inequities in industries in which Black and Brown representation is severely lacking by creating and delivering compelling programming that not only brings top students and industry leaders together but allows each entity to showcase its best self through industry-specific skills challenges, mentoring, and professional development. 

GOLD Star (Graduate of the Last Decade):  Ebonie Trice — CEO & Founder of Mission Accomplished.
Ebonie serves on the Austin/Travis County Homelessness Response System (HRS) Leadership Council. She is an alumnus of Leadership Austin and African American Leadership Institute. Those who know her describe Ebonie as someone who lives her mission daily with her ‘boots on the ground.’ Ebonie has received numerous awards, including the Div Inc NonProfit Executive of the Year award and the NAACP Outstanding Community Service Award. Her nonprofit, Mission Accomplished, is headquartered in Austin and provides individuals and families with the tools and resources they need to live a more prosperous, stable, and healthy lifestyle.  

Community Leader of the Year: Rubén Cantú, Executive Director of UT Austin’s Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Rubén is a native Austinite introduced to ACC as a young high school student in the late 90s. To this day, Ruben holds deep admiration and appreciation for ACC as it has been part of his life in more ways than one, a testament to the legacy of this institution and the ripple effect that ACC has on its students and community members. Twenty-plus years later, Rubén holds the role and titles of Executive Director of Inclusive Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas (UT) and professor for various programs at the university as well. Rubén serves and leads the way for marginalized students and provides stewardship for our communities through his programs at UT. He has long served on several boards and committees across our city’s diverse sectors. Rubén has said everything he has achieved in his life to this day would not have been possible without ACC. He particularly credits the support and guidance of Mr. Walter Cooper, an advisor at ACC’s Eastview Campus, who worked with him during high school and contributed greatly to the person he is today. 

Learn more about these incredible Riverbat alumni and view highlights from the inaugural celebration event below.