2013 NCWIT Summit - NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Ceremony (Arizona)

August 14, 2013


Ruthe Farmer:  Good evening, and welcome to the Arizona Award for Aspirations in Computing. We're very excited to recognize this amazing group of young women this evening.

Before we get started, I'd like to acknowledge each of the NCWIT members in the room for their support and contributions to Aspirations in Computing. You've probably seen over the last couple of days that almost everybody's participating in some way. If you're not, you will be soon.

Thanks to your help, we were able to recognize over 1,000 young women nationally this year at 54 separate events serving all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

If you participate in the program, please stand up.


This message is going to start directed at the girls. Unlike most award competitions, where the award is the culmination of your work, where you work for months on something and that's the end, this award is the beginning of your relationship with NCWIT.

We look forward to welcoming you into our community and we'll do everything we can to help you succeed. In your bags tonight, you'll receive a blue packet from NCWIT.

This packet details the many ways that we will help you and is all the resources available to you, too, including introductions to Computer Science faculty at any of our 300 university partners, connections with NCWIT Workforce Alliance member companies for internships, jobs, and other events, and especially memberships in our exclusive online community winners of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

Which most of you are already probably members of, raise your hand if you are. Good. OK, join the Facebook Group. You have mobile phones, please do that.


Ruthe:  Thank you, too. Thanks to our new Aspirations in Computing community initiative, sponsored by Bloomberg, we actually have 20 Aspirations Award alumni here today. I'd liked them to stand up and be recognized.


Ruthe:  So, next year you will be one of them, potentially. These young ladies have gone to the White House, they've been recognized in major media, on "Huffington Post," and other ways. Welcome to being part of that community.

The packet also contains Duties of The Crown. There are strings attached. We ask that you go back to your High school and you talk to other girls, your teachers and counselors about this program, and about computing and the importance of Computer Science Education.

We're hoping to see double the applicants from your school next year. Please talk to other young ladies about computing, about technology, and about the recognition that you've received, and the opportunities that have been open to you.

Contrary to what you sometimes hear in the media, jobs in computing and IT are plentiful and expected to grow. Right now the US Department of Labor Predicts 1.4 Million new jobs in the field by 2018, yet the current pipeline will fill about 29 percent of those. Beyond that, technology needs you.

We at NCWIT believe that technology is better when it's created by everyone that uses it. We're looking forward to seeing the great solutions that you create for the world, as well as the wide, much, much wider range of problems that you will address.

You should be very proud of your accomplishment. As an Aspirations Award recipient, you represent the most promising tech talent in the country.

We want you to know that NCWIT members over 450 strong, many of whom are here today. You will meet at the reception afterwards are here to support you. They're eager to see you succeed and we encourage you to continue exploring your interest in computing and IT.

One example of that encouragement is that Arizona State University is offering a $4,000 scholarship to any of you that choose to go to ASU and major in engineering.

Behind every student is a great educator. The 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 encourage young women to continue exploring their interests in computing and technology.

Each awardee will receive up to $1,000 for computing related professional development to help extend their teaching ability in their career. Here to present our Aspirations Arizona Educator Award is last year's winner, Katherine Wyman who happens to have nine award recipients here tonight.

Katherine Wyman:  I'd like to bring to the stage, Sam Alexander. Sam is the computer science teacher and robotics teacher at Chandler High School, and has been leading the program for eight years. He teaches introductory classes that cover computer maintenance, programming, web design, and networking. His students learn software engineering, IB/AP Java, robotics, and computer maintenance.

His robotics class competes in FIRST robotics competitions as well as mentoring feeder schools in FIRST Lego League. At this past Phoenix Regional, they won the Engineering Inspiration Award and went on to the championship in St. Louis. Of the team that attended the championships, over half of the members on his team are girls.

Sam has two award winners here tonight. I just wanted to read a couple of quotes from his students, "Mr. Alexander is a great teacher that loves to help his students reach newer and higher heights when he sees the potential in them. He drives his students to try new things daily, and this drive is almost always rewarded. He is a great educator and motivator."

"He has opened my eyes to the world of real life computers and software engineering applications by bringing a humor‑filled and practical teaching style that relays the importance of the skills we are learning while making it interesting and relevant."

"Being in Mr. Alexander's class is great because he always makes sure to point out opportunities for me in the world of engineering. He continues to encourage me and the other female students in the class and never treats us differently than the other students. I feel just as challenged and highly thought of as anyone else."



Katherine:  I am really amazed that I was able to hold it together because I have a hard time with the Educator Award usually. Without the support of our generous sponsors, we wouldn't be able to run the Aspirations and Computing Program. At this point, I really could not name them all. There's hundreds of little sponsors and big sponsors, and it's so fantastic.

But we have some representatives here today to be on stage with us. I'd like to ask Matthew Blakely from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, Jacqui Meyer Brabants from the Bloomberg's R&D Internal Systems, and Tony Hey, Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections, to come to the stage.


Katherine:  Ladies, you're going to precess up this way. Take it away, Tony.

Tony Hey:  Do you want me to stand here? Is that OK?

Katherine:  Stand wherever you like.

Tony:  It's great to be here. Thanks very much, Ruthe. Microsoft's obviously very proud to participate in the Aspirations in Computing Program. I'd like to give congratulations to all of the 2013 Arizona Aspirations in Computing Award recipients. I'll start tonight with the 2013 Arizona runners‑up.

First is Amanda Marquis from Valley Vista High School. Amanda is a sophomore at Valley Vista High School. She's enrolled in the highest digital communications class offered at her school. She is a high honor roll student and has won two Scholar Awards for her determination and good grades.

In the future, Amanda would like to be a digital art designer or program designer.

Amanda Marquis:  Thank you.


Tony:  Second one is Kassandra Haro from Xavier College Preparatory. Kassandra is a junior at Xavier College. She and fellow Xavier Gators received a grant from NCWIT to help start a computing summer camp at Xavier for middle school girls in the hope of encouraging interest in young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

Congratulations to our 2013 Arizona runners‑up. Well done. Thank you very much.


Tony:  Now, I'm pleased to introduce our 2013 Arizona Aspirations in Computing Award winners. We'll start with Chloe Kwon from Lake Havasu High School.

Driven by the love of math and science all her life, Chloe has always wanted to pursue a career in the engineering field. Chloe is currently a senior and will be graduating with not just a high school diploma, but also with her associate's degree.

Chloe will be continuing her education at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University this fall to major in biomedical engineering. Congratulations.


Tony:  The next is Dahlia Hughes from Chandler High School. Dahlia is involved with the high school's computer programming classes as well as its computing summer camp. She is most proud of her accomplishments at the ASU sponsored camp which include winning a programming competition for three years in a row.

She would also like to major in software engineering. Congratulations.


Tony:  Dianne Numkena is also from Xavier College Preparatory. Sharing other people the joys and exciting new possibilities of technology has always been Dianne's passion. She recently took part in the Girls Have IT Day at her school where she worked on a project to graph the curve of a sound wave onto a wall. She measured the distance of the wave using echolocation.

After she graduates, Dianne would like to major in computer software engineering. Congratulations. Well done.


Tony:  Genevieve Valladao from Xavier College Preparatory. Genevieve is involved in engineering projects and community service where she is conducting an energy audit for Weldon House, a center for women and families facing abusive relationships. She is also a volunteer at Girls Have IT Day, an event introducing middle school girls to the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

Congratulations. Well done.


Tony:  Next is Kate Welty from Xavier College Preparatory. Kate has been involved in programming at her school and is an officer of The Independent Study Engineering Program. Together with another Aspirations Award winner, Kate applied for and received a middle school camp grant from NCWIT which she will use to encourage middle school girls to become involved in computing.

After she graduates, Kate would also like to major in computer software engineering. Great. Congratulations. Well done.


Tony:  Next is Kellie Reynolds from Sunrise Mountain High School. Since a young age, technology has filled Kellie with inspiration. The exciting mixture of journalism and technology is what drives Kellie forward. She looks forward to mixing those two interests in her future career.

She hopes to attend either Arizona State University or Northern Arizona University for a degree in journalism. Congratulations, Kellie. Well done.


Tony:  Next, Laura Stanovich from Lake Havasu High school. With aspirations in computing and engineering from a high school drafting classes, Laura has continued to pursue her dreams in this field. She is currently her school's math club president and has also held the position of secretary for the SkillsUSA drafting program.

Laura will be attending Arizona State University in the fall for biomedical engineering. Congratulations. Well done. Very good.


Tony:  Lauren Riddiford from Xavier College Preparatory. Lauren has enjoyed mathematics from an early age, but she became involved in computing after taking a programming class in high school. She participated in NYU Poly‑Cyber Forensics Challenge and is the president of the Math Honor Society.

Lauren will attend Columbia University this fall with the intention to study applied mathematics and applied physics. Congratulations. Well done. That's very good.


Tony:  Maria Martinez from Tollesson Union High School. Maria has been long infatuated with the field of mathematics taking as many math related courses as she could. At the end of her junior year, Maria decided to branch out. Her statistics teacher recommended she take AP Computer Science.

In the future, Maria hopes to pursue the computing and technology field. Congratulations, Maria. Well done.


Tony:  Natalie Brown from Xavier College Preparatory. One of Natalie's most accomplished projects was creating an app that will be sold in the Apple App Store. She's also a member of the schools team that attended the JETS TEAMS competition in the spring at Arizona State University.

Natalie is currently the co‑president of her school's ethics program. Congratulations, Natalie. Well done.


Tony:  Rebecca Rodriguez from Chandler High School. Rebecca dreams of having the opportunity to work hands‑on in the computing field due to her love of computers and video games. She's currently pursuing this dream by taking computing classes at her high school as well as at Chandler Gilbert Community College.

Her goal is to attend Arizona State University and major in computer science. Congratulations. Very good. Well done.


Tony:  Sarah Fakler from Xavier College Preparatory. Of the many things she's involved in, the project that Sarah is most excited about is her work on solar ovens for women in Kumasi, Ghana. Sarah is also a member of the Cyber Forensics Hacking Team where they attempt to solve mysteries using computing techniques.

In the future, Sarah's goal is to become a civil engineer, so she can design solutions to problems such as global climate change, food shortages, and scarcity of energy. Congratulations. Well done.


Tony:  Last but not least, Zoe Berk from Xavier College Preparatory. Zoe is passionate about science, technology, engineering, and math and hopes to pursue a career involving computer science and math. She signed up to take an Honors Independent Computer Study and an AP Computer Science during her senior year.

Zoe will attend college majoring in computer science with a minor in applied mathematics. Well done, Zoe. That's very nice. Well done.


Tony:  Congratulations again to our 2013 Arizona Aspirations Award recipients.


Tony:  This reminded me when I was dean when I had to read out all the names at graduation. It was very tough, I remember, but not as tough as this. Thank you.

Ruthe:  Give Tony a big hand.


Ruthe:  In closing, I would like to thank all of the educators, both in and out of school, that are in this room. Thank you for all that you do to encourage and support young women like these.

Thank you to the parents that are here. You've clearly done a great job. Please continue to support your daughters' interest in exploring technology, whatever they may be, and other interests of course.

We'd also like to thank all of our sponsors. Without your support, we wouldn't be able to do this and recognize these young women. Thank you everyone for being here, and I hope that you'll connect with these young ladies at the reception.

Woman 1:  Actually, we have a video. Because Ruthe is the heart of this program, the girls came together and made a video for her. We have a video to show you.

[video begins]

Girl 1: Hey, Ruth, thank you so much for everything you have done for me and all the NCWIT girls. We love you. You're amazing. Thank you.

Girl 2: Continue to be awesome in your job as "Fairy Godmother," as we call you, but really thank you for all you did.

Girl 3: Thank you so much, Ruth, for all that you've done. Your continuous help and encouragement is incredibly supportive. I think I speak for everyone when I say that it's greatly appreciated, so thank you so much.

Girl 5: Ruth, thank you so much for everything. You really are a "Fairy Godmother."

Girl 6: Hi, Ruth, I wanted to thank you so much for just being such an inspiration to me and to hundreds of thousands of other girls across the US. I just think it's so amazing how you're constantly traveling all over the place and you are actively participating in all these events.

You're still able to log onto Facebook and Twitter, and constantly respond to what we are saying on your Facebook page and what people are saying on Twitter. I just think it's amazing.

I have no idea how you do it all, but I wanted to definitely thank you for it. It's just really incredible to me, how you do it all. Thank you.

[video ends]




Transcription by CastingWords