Aspirations in Computing Winners Recognized at White House Science Fair

NCWIT is pleased to announce that on Monday, April 22, two recipients of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing will be in Washington, D.C. to attend the White House Science Fair, hosted by President Obama. Jasmine Johnson, 18, from Conyers, Georgia, is a senior at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology; and Rian Walker, 17, is a senior at Ocean Springs High School in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The young women will be accompanied at the White House by NCWIT member Dr. Quincy Brown of Bowie State University.

Jasmine will be presenting a research project she conducted on genetics and sleep. She got hooked on the topic in 11th grade after she took a computational biology course through the Jackson Laboratory, where she conducted bioinformatics research studying the relationship between fat and sleep deprivation. After narrowing 28,000 potential genes down to seven, Jasmine connected these genes with various neurodegenerative diseases, body mass, metabolic function, and RNA processing, Her research has developed models for study into the relationship between sleep and the different diseases and functions of the body. "With a nation suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation," she says, "studies focused on the possible underlying mechanisms of it all can lead to greater understanding of sleep and physiological effects as well as personalized medicine." Jasmine's project earned semifinalist status in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, & TEchnology and currently she is planning to attend college at Stanford, Princeton, Brown or Yale. 

Rian began exploring technology at a young age, accompanying her father - an audio installation specialist - to his jobs. She got her first computer when she was six and took pride in being the student called on to answer questions about technology in elementary and middle school. Despite experiencing challenges in high school with grades, attendance, family relationships, legality, and even a situation of loss and homelessness, Rian graduated early and on the honor roll. In the fall she will attend Mississippi State University, majoring in computer software engineering, and hopes one day to open a business where she can teach technology and provide a place for others like her to learn and create with computing. 

The third White House Science Fair - part of the President's Educate to Innovate campaign, designed to inspire students to excel in math and science - is intended to celebrate the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. 100 students from more than 40 states are attending, representing 45 different STEM competitions and organizations that recognize the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators; Jasmine is one of 30 student teams presenting projects. As the President noted during the first Science Fair in 2010, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

WHEN: Monday, April 22, 2:25 PM ET

WHERE: White House East Room

WEBCAST: The event will be webcast live at http:/