Written by special contributor Lance Fleming

Each day, students across the ACU campus display the university’s mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world through their actions and acts of service on the campus. Each year, students like those are nominated by their academic departments. From those nominations, 50 scholars are selected by the ACU Faculty Senate to receive the University Scholars Award for their graduating class. 

Among those 50 scholars who demonstrated outstanding scholarship by maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher, earning 90 hours towards their degree, and continuing the pursuit of knowledge in their research field, seven are students from the College of Business Administration. The COBA students who received this year’s University Scholars Award are Kathryn Crawford, Gracie Isham, Matthew Roberson, Will Harris, Diego Lozano Welsh, Ben Blackmon, and Garrett Powell. 

We will highlight each of the seven over the next month, including this profile of Garrett Powell, a native of Aledo, Texas, who carries a 3.9 GPA while majoring in computer science with a focus on software engineering and minoring in mathematics. Garrett – who has been working as an intern for Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company – will go to work with FCLIC as a DevOps Developer. 

While at ACU, Garrett has been heavily involved in academic and campus life pursuits. He has served as Dr. James Prather’s research assistant, researching metacognition, programming error messages, and novice programmers. Seven of his articles have been published on various platforms over the last three years. 

He’s also the chairman of the local ACM SIGCHI Chapter and is president of the ACU Swing Cats, the swing dance club on campus. Garrett has been with the group since the fall of his freshman year (2019-20) and was with the group on April 29 when it celebrated its 20th anniversary with a dance at the Elks Ballroom. 

Garrett recently answered a few questions about his time at ACU and in COBA, covering everything from his most influential class and professor to the most impactful thing he’s been a part of while at ACU: 


Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself at ACU?

Powell: “Learning to interact and communicate with people from different areas of life, whether from other majors or societal backgrounds.” 


Q: What professor or class has impacted you most and why?

Powell: “James Prather has by far been the most influential professor. He picked me up as a research assistant in the spring of my freshman year and has been a mentor ever since. He introduced me to the many ways we can improve people’s lives by implementing accessibility tools on our software. The most influential class would have actually had to have been a two-part class. Software 1 and 2, taught by Brent Reeves, greatly impacted me. He helped implement projects that reflected what working in the real world was like. It did a great job preparing me for what I see in my job day to day.”


Q: Of all the things you’ve experienced at ACU, what do you believe will have the most impact on your life?

Powell: “Being involved in Swing Cats has been the most influential part of my college experience. It brought me out of my comfort zone and moved me into a leadership position.”