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Nelly Cheboi, Augustana alum, is CNN's Hero of the Year

Cheboi started TechLit Africa to teach Kenyan students tech skills and set them up for a successful future.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Augustana College graduate of 2016 Nelly Cheboi is CNN's Hero of the Year for her tremendous work for TechLit Africa, a nonprofit that redistributes recycled computers in schools across rural Kenya.

Cheboi attended Augustana on a full scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics and computer science. She grew up in poverty in Mogotio, Kenya, and credits her mother's hard work in raising her and her sisters for her success. 

With this award, Cheboi will receive $100,000 to expand her work. She and the other top 10 CNN Heroes honored on Sunday will also get $10,000 in cash as well as additional grants, organizational training and support from The Elevate Prize Foundation through a new collaboration with CNN Heroes.

But wait, there's more! Cheboi will also be named an Elevate Prize winner, which comes with a $300,000 grant and additional support worth $200,000 for her nonprofit.

Watch Cheboi's journey to the award on News 8's YouTube channel

The family who supported her through her college career remains a huge supporter of her mission with TechLit Africa. The Bahls learned she won this award during a watch party they held with friends at their Montana home. 

"Nelly Cheboi is one of the most talented individuals I have ever been associated with," said Steve Bahl. "This is a well-deserved honor for her as she had a dream, went after it and climbed a huge mountain to get there with many obstacles. She is a role model for all Augustana students, as well as a graduate."

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