Press Release: Announcing The Sixth Annual Aspirations in Computing Award

ST. PAUL – Minnesota (Sept. 5, 2017) – What’s the best way to support the next generation of tech enthusiasts? Recognize their talent and cultivate a community where they can experiment, explore, and thrive. That’s the goal of the sixth annual Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Awards.

While efforts to narrow the gender gap in the tech industry have received renewed attention, women made up only 26% percent of the nationwide computing workforce in 2016, and less than 10% percent were women of color.

To help address the gender and opportunity gap, and encourage young women interested in technology, Minnesota State – IT Center of Excellence, with its numerous partners, are seeking young women in high schools across the state with emerging aspirations and accomplishments in technology, to apply for the Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing Awards Program online. Applications are being accepted through November 9th, 2017.

“Following a record setting year of success seeking and supporting Minnesota’s best and most passionate female techies, our goal with the awards program is to continue to inspire more young women to get involved in technology,” says Russell Fraenkel, IT Center of Excellence, Director of IT Career Pathways and Partnerships. “Our workforce needs their creativity and innovation, and these women have a phenomenal opportunity to be the next generation of leaders and innovators in a rapidly growing field.”

Last year, the Minnesota awards program recognized 32 honorees from across the state for their computing-related achievements and interests. Eight were dually recognized at the national level.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (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 careers.

Awards will be made based on the interests, accomplishments, demonstrated leadership, and community involvement of young women in computing and technology-related activities. Prizes for the award winners include access to college scholarships, tech devices, cash rewards, and paid internship and job shadow opportunities at Minnesota businesses and organizations.

Students can submit applications for the award online through Nov. 9, 2017. Winners will be chosen in December and honored by sponsor partners at an April 2018 awards ceremony in Vadnais Heights, MN.

All Minnesota applicants will automatically be entered into the national awards program. National winners will be honored at the 2018 Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase in March 2018.

Additional award program sponsors are being sought to support the collaborative efforts provided by the following 2016-17 partners: Maverick Software Consulting, Veritas Techologies, SPS Commerce, Upper Midwest Security Alliance, Land O’Lakes, STEM Fuse, Target, Thomson Reuters, General Mills, Unisys, Twin Cities Chapter of the Association for Women in Computing, Pearson VUE, HelpSystems, SUPERVALU, Metropolitan State University, Bellmont Partners, National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), PeopleNet, Securian, ESP IT, Logic PD, Minnesota Computers for Schools, Microsoft, Girls in Tech – Twin Cities, Nerdery, Information Systems Security Association, Minnesota High Tech Association-Women Leading in Technology, BDPA – Twin Cities, TECHdotMN, Genesys Works, Best Buy, COCO, College of St. Scholastica, Tech IT Out! MN, and Minnesota State – IT Center of Excellence.

For more information, contact Russell Fraenkel, MN Aspirations Committee, at 651.253.9438 or russell.fraenkel@metrostate.edu.

About MN State — IT Center of Excellence

Formerly known as Advance IT Minnesota, the MN State – IT Center of Excellence engages employers, educators, technology professionals and learners to develop a more robust IT workforce in Minnesota. A Center of Excellence within the Colleges and Universities of Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU), it is located at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Midway campus. For more information, visit www.advanceitmn.org.

About National Center for Women & Information Technology

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a coalition of over 700 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness and workforce sustainability by increasing women’s participation in information technology (IT). To find out more, visit www.ncwit.org.