CSE hosts 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award Celebration

Apr 13, 2017      By Victoria Grdina

The 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Awardees
The 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Awardees

Nebraska and Southwest Iowa Regional Affiliate 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award Celebration was held Saturday, April 9 at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

The ceremony recognized young women at the high school level in Nebraska and Southwest Iowa with computing-related achievements and goals. Honorees were selected based on computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. Each student submitted an application in the fall, and all applications were accompanied by an educator endorsement.

The reception was attended by about 100 guests, including Nebraska’s Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley, who spoke about the importance of young women in the technology field. 

“This is really an exciting event — to see 20 extraordinary young women who are emerging already at very young ages in a field that is going to become so critically important to the future of our country,” Foley said. “I want to congratulate all of you and thank you for the path that you’re on…we need more and more young women to follow you on this path.”

Mike Foley shares why he believes women in computing is important for our future.
Mike Foley shares why he believes women in computing is important for our future.

Among the award recipients were 14 winners, six honorable mentions and one Educator of the Year.

Winners:

Abigail Brooks, Bellevue East High School, Bellevue, Class of 2018
Emma Carlson, Westside High School, Omaha, Class of 2019
Makenzie Cartwright, Papillion-La Vista High School, Papillion, Class of 2017
Ottilie Cooper-Ohm, Lewis Central Senior High School, Council Bluffs, Class of 2018
Grace Erixon, Omaha North High School, Omaha, Class of 2018*
Katherine Gerot, Millard West High School, Millard, Class of 2018*
Emily Koster, V.J. & Angela Skutt Catholic High School, Omaha, Class of 2017
Beth Nelson, Logan View Jr./Sr. High School, Hooper, Class of 2019
Kamryn Pullen, Omaha North High School, Omaha, Class of 2018
Anna Kay Sitzman, Omaha North High School, Omaha, Class of 2018
Katherine Sloup, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School, Omaha, Class of 2019
Vianna Smith, Aurora High School, Aurora, Class of 2018
Lavanya Uppala, Millard North High School, Omaha, Class of 2018
Samantha Wahl, Westside High School, Omaha, Class of 2020

Honorable Mentions:
Elizabeth Berry, Westside High School, Omaha, Class of 2020
Ashley Ceja-Velazquez, Omaha South High School, Omaha, Class of 2017
Niang Dim, Lincoln Christian High School, Lincoln, Class of 2017
Camryn Durbin, Omaha South High School, Class of 2020
Hyunjung (Anna) Lee, Southwest High School, Lincoln, Class of 2017
Heidi Saner, Sandhills Public Schools, Dunning, Class of 2018
 
Educator of the Year: 
Lana Yager, Omaha South High School, Omaha
 
*denotes National Honorable Mention recipient

Each honoree received a trophy for herself and another for her school, along with some gift bags from NCWIT and local sponsors. Winners received additional $50 Amazon gift cards and scholarship opportunities through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The Educator Award winner also received a cash prize and additional professional development funding.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a coalition working to increase diversity in IT and computing. NCWIT believes that greater diversity in computing will create a larger and more competitive workforce, and promote the design of technology that is as broad and innovative as the population it serves. NCWIT focuses on improving diversity across the entire spectrum: K-12 through college education, and on to academic, corporate and entrepreneurial careers. Since 2013, NCWIT has awarded more than 6,400 National and Regional Award winners and honorable mentions, and honored 330 Educator Award recipients.

This year’s event was co-coordinated by professor Leen-Kiat Soh of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sandy Vlasnik of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and professor Sherri Harms of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. If you are interested in applying for the Aspirations in Computing Awards or participating in this effort, please contact one of the co-coordinators.

The 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing awards.
The 2017 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing awards.