Taylorville native meets Microsoft mogul today
February 6, 2012 8:34 PM
Taylorville, IL -- Nov 11, 2005 --
TAYLORVILLE - Michelle Klemm Tjelmeland has been selected as one of five winners nationwide in the Microsoft "Start Something Amazing Awards."
Microsoft brought Tjelmeland and the other winners to Seattle where today they will meet with the company's founder Bill Gates.
Tjelmeland earned the top spot in the Culture and Community division of the Start Something campaign, a program intended to honor people who use Windows® and related technology to pursue their individual passions.
In addition to the trip to Seattle, she will received $5000 in Microsoft products and will take her choice of a National Geographic expedition to Bhutan, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Greece, or China.
The 1991 graduate of Taylorville High School who became profoundly deaf as an adult earned a master's degree in computer technology and education. She started a web development business - www.ewebsmart.com - that creates sites for clients across the county including one for Taylorville's SHADOW Home, to whom she donated her services.
When her daughter Ellie was born deaf, Tjelmeland shared their experiences at her web site www.iloveellie.com where she currently counsels more than three dozen families facing similar situations.
Through cochlear implant technology, both mother and daughter can hear now. Tjelmeland founded the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation (www.ciafonline.org,) a non-profit and first of its kind organization that provides financial assistance for individuals and families experiencing financial difficulties from expenses related to cochlear implants.
"I cannot think about what my life would be like without technology," Tjelmeland stated. "Thank you to the creators of Microsoft software. You provide me and many others a lifeline."
Tjelmeland and her husband Joel live in the Springfield area with Ellie and their younger daughter Lucy. Michelle is the daughter of Max and Sheryl Klemm of Taylorville.
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