CEO Faith Rothberg M.C.’s Women in Computing Awards for High Schoolers

Posted April 24, 2013 by
Faith Rothberg at NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Ceremony

Faith Rothberg at NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Ceremony

Last week, Faith Rothberg, CEO of, served as the Master of Ceremonies for an awards ceremony designed to encourage young women to enter the highly rewarding career fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing awards ceremony was held on April 18, 2013 at the Unisys Corporation data center in Eagan, Minnesota. The ceremony was organized by Advance IT Minnesota, the high-tech talent incubator run by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. There were six winners and five runners-up in the first annual Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing award for high school students. Winners from across the state were selected based on their interests, accomplishments, and community involvement in computing and technology, as well as for their aspirations in computing and technology-related fields. Additionally, one Minnesota student was named a winner of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing award, an honor given to only 35 students in the nation, and another Minnesota student was selected as a runner-up for the national award. Winners and runners-up were chosen from a national applicant pool exceeding 1,800 young women.

Park Center Senior High student Sarah Aladetan was a national award winner. Among her many national and state prizes she will receive a $1,000 scholarship from MnSCU to be applied to a MnSCU school of her choice. Aladetan will be honored at the 2013 Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will receive $500 and a laptop computer.

“I’ve never won anything of this level,” Aladetan says. “Computer programming is my main passion, but I’ve never had anyone to compare myself to. Winning this award showed me that programming is something I really am good at. I’m very grateful, and I hope that more girls become aware of this award.” Aladetan plans to major in either computer engineering or computer science in college. She hopes to one day launch a start-up that combines her passion for programming with one of her other interests: design or music.

Other state winners, including national award runner-up Dorothy O’Berry received prizes including $500 MnSCU scholarships and were honored at the event:

  • Sarah Aladetan of Brooklyn Park; junior at Park Center Senior High School
  • Tarissa Jackson of Savage; junior at Burnsville Senior High School
  • Kirsi Kuutti of Duluth; senior at Duluth East High School
  • Ananya Mishra of Maple Grove; junior at Wayzata High School
  • Dorothy O’Berry of St. Paul; senior at Como Park Senior High School
  • Herchran Singh of Rochester; senior at John Marshall High School

The following Minnesota runners-up also received prizes and were honored during the April event:

  • Hanna Abikar of Columbia Heights; senior at Columbia Heights High School
  • Molly Andersen of Mendota Heights; senior at Trinity School at River Ridge
  • Alison Decker of St. Paul; senior at Johnson Senior High School
  • Erin Mitchell of Lakeville; junior at Lakeville North High School
  • Annelies Odermann of Wayzata; junior at Wayzata High School

“The award committee was thrilled with the number and quality of applications received from high school students throughout the state, especially since this is the first year Minnesota has offered the state award. We’re proud that Minnesota had the highest participation rate in the country among single state first-year award programs,” said Russell Fraenkel, director of collaborative programs and outreach at Advance IT Minnesota. “We believe that young women who develop strong technology skills during their high school years will perform better in their post-secondary education pursuits and bring greater value to their future employers. On behalf of our many partners, it’s a pleasure to support these tech-savvy young women.”

The award honors young women in grades 9-12 for their computing-related achievements and interests. The NCWIT created the award in 2007 to encourage the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field and generate visibility for women’s participation in computing-related pursuits. Despite holding six in 10 American jobs, women held just 25 percent of computing occupations in 2011. And of the 1.4 million expected openings for computer specialists in 2020, the current number of American graduates can fill only 30 percent. Advance IT Minnesota launched its first Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing award to help bridge this gender and talent gap, and support, recognize and encourage young women in high school interested in computing and technology.

Advance IT Minnesota partnered with the following Minnesota organizations to offer the award: Black Data Processing Associates, Cognizant, Maverick Software Consulting, Minnesota High Tech Association, TECHdotMN, Leading-Edge Collaborations, Inc., Thomson Reuters, the Twin Cities Chapter of the Association of Women in Computing, Symantec, Microsoft and Unisys Corporation.

About Advance IT Minnesota

Advance IT Minnesota engages employers, educators, technology professionals and learners to develop a more robust IT workforce in Minnesota. A Center of Excellence within the Minnesota States Colleges and Universities system, it is housed at the Metropolitan State University, Minneapolis campus.

About National Center for Women & Information Technology

The National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) is a coalition of over 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to increase women’s participation in information technology (IT).

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