As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Boise State University’s Idaho Affiliate recognized 12 high-school women for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology. The award event was held April 11 at Boise State and featured a keynote address by Barbara Morgan, former astronaut and distinguished educator in residence at Boise State.
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a program of the NCWIT, a coalition of nearly 200 universities, corporations and organizations dedicated to increasing the meaningful participation of women in computing. The award was created to introduce young women to leadership opportunities in the field and generate visibility for women’s participation in computing-related pursuits. The program is sponsored by a generous grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.
The 2012-13 Idaho Affiliate winners listed below were awarded a $1,000 per year scholarship for up to four years to attend Boise State and major in computer science.
- Ashli Hunter – Melba High School, Melba
- Audrey Martinez – Mountain View High School, Meridian
- Emily Patterson – Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Shaleeni Prasad – Nampa Senior High School, Nampa
- Erick Rigby – Madison Senior High School, Rexburg
- Stephanie Walker – Meridian Technical Charter High School, Meridian
- Kylie Williamson – Centennial High School, Boise
- Lauryn Wright – Centennial High School, Boise
The 2012-13 Idaho Affiliate runners-up below were awarded a $500 per year scholarship for up to four years to attend Boise State and major in computer science.
- Jocee Doramus – Parma High School, Parma
- Marissa Geisbush – Merdian High School, Meridian
- Amy Tetreault – Bishop Kelly High School, Boise
- Kaitlin Wallis – Sandpoint High School, Sandpoint
Behind every great student is a great educator. Also recognized at the event was teacher Beth Richtsmeier from Meridian Technical Charter. The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator Award recognizes outstanding educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing. These educators play a pivotal role in helping to encourage the young women to continue exploring their interest in computing and technology.
Richtsmeier has been involved in education for 18 years teaching computer applications and math at the middle school level to web development and computer science to high school students. She helped design and continues to be instrumental in the maintenance and innovation of Meridian Technical Charter High School, a school specializing in training and preparing students for information technology careers. Her passion is helping students, particularly young women learn how to work and find a satisfying career. She has also earned the SkillsUSA Idaho Advisor of the Year award for her dedication to helping students gain technical and leadership skills outside the classroom. Richtsmeier received $1,000 reimbursement for participation in a computing-related professional development opportunity.
The Idaho Affiliate of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a collaborative effort by dedicated volunteers from Boise State University’s College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science, Girls in Tech Boise and Hewlett Packard.
Boise State’s Computer Science Department offers a bachelor of science degree that is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET as well as a minor in computer science. Part of the vibrant computing community at Boise State is the Association of Computing Machinists Women’s Chapter and a Student Computer Science Club that host a Linux Fest, Lan Parties, App-athon events and other activities. Outside the classroom, local software development companies seek out upper-division students for lucrative part-time employment and high-paying internships. Find out more at coen.boisestate.edu/cs.