NCWIT 2012 Aspirations in Computing Illinois Affiliate Award

May 23, 2012

RUTHE FARMER: So good evening and welcome to the Illinois Aspirations and Computing Awards Ceremony. On behalf of the entire NCWIT community, I'm honored to congratulate this outstanding group of young women. You just viewed the winning video in the group category. No, we didn't. [audience laughing] Back up, Ruth. Are we rolling video? Okay, we are going to view the winning video in the group category from our recent video contest. [drum music] [alarm beeping] [dramatic music] [exploding] [dramatic music] [buzzing] [dramatic music] [keys clacking] [beeping] [beeping] [beeping]

ROYA VOICEOVER: Hi my name is Roya.

JEANETTE VOICEOVER: And I'm Jeanette, and we are

BOTH WOMEN: young women in technology.

ROYA VOICEOVER: We come from El Paso, a place where the need for future engineers and technological leaders is essential.

JEANETTE VOICEOVER: In a society where women as stereotyped, we found it challenging to reach our aspirations in technology.

ROYA VOICEOVER: As a young girl, I never thought that I would be where I am right now, but through the support of my family, teachers, and NCWIT, I was able to reach my goals and continue to pursue an education in technology.

JEANETTE VOICEOVER: Did you know that in the next decade, the national demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase four times that of all other occupations?

ROYA VOICEOVER: Every day, less and less high school women are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. If nothing is done, the United States will be looking at a critical technology workforce shortage by 2012.

JEANETTE VOICEOVER: In order to solve this problem, we as women must continue to empower one another to reach our dreams and aspirations. Ways that this can be accomplished are by mentoring younger girls is STEM, and being their role models. As women in technology, it is our responsibility to be great representatives of females in the STEM field and prove common stereotypes wr- [alarm beeping] [dramatic music] [audience applauding]

RUTHE FARMER: Yes you did just view the winner of the group category. I'd like to thank Google, Apple, and Microsoft for their support of that challenge. Those girls each won an iPad and they are thrilled. This is just one of the ways that this community of young women in technology is supporting each other in the NCWIT mission. If you have any ideas for things you'd like to see them partake in, that would be fantastic. Before we get started, I would like to acknowledge each of the NCWIT members in the room for your support and contributions to the Aspirations and Computing Program. Thanks to your help, we were able to recognize more than 600 young women this year at 31 events serving 28 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. If you have participated in the program as a host, as a committee member, a sponsor, or an application reviewer, please stand up. [applauding] This would absolutely not be possible without your help. At last count, 40% of NCWIT member organizations were participating in this program in some way. We are working on growing that number. You universities out there, we will be talking to you tomorrow. We happen to have a few of our Aspirations and Computing alumni in the room. Marissa Halpert is here. She's with James Madison University, with the CS Department. She's here somewhere, stand up. She might be out helping somewhere. Kit Vanderwater, one of our very first winners, is graduating soon from Northwest Central College here in Chicago, and will be joining Google in Mountain View. Jaynisha Patel is one of the leaders of our mobile app development team. She's giving a flash talk tomorrow. You can look for them around the building. There we are. We had a reunion of girls at the Grace Hopper Conference last fall. Those were girls from all over the country that were part of this program. Most of them had never met and this was their time to meet other than on Facebook. We also have a couple of pioneering women here with us today to help induct these young women into the Aspirations and Computing community. Particia Palombo and Lucy Simon Rakov were both NASA Project Mercury team members. We will be honoring them later today at the community reception. I want to thank Patricia and Lucy for helping us honor this next generation of pioneering young women in technology. [audience applauding] This next message is for the girls. Unlike most award competitions where the award is the culmination of your work, such as the science fair where you work for months and months, where they give you an award and send you on your way, 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 computing and IT. In your goodie bags tonight, you'll receive a blue packet from us. This packet details the many ways that NCWIT is available to help you, such as introductions to computer science faculty at any of our 200 academic alliance member institutions, connections to our workforce alliance members, of companies for internships, jobs, and other connections, and especially membership in our online community Winners of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations and Computing, which I hope you all have joined. We post lots of things there. Internships, opportunities, scholarships, you can do a poster session at Grace Hopper. We're talking about that now. We also have contests from time to time, such as the video contest you just saw and then we have projects. Thanks to Motorola Mobility, we received a small grant to build a mobile app and we have 31 girls around the country, one who's doing it from her overseas program in Spain, that are working together to build a social mobile Android app, to provide opportunities for technical young women to connect. This is a great way to stay connected and stay connected with other young women in technology. The packet also contains the duties of the crown. There are strings attached with this award. We ask that you go back to your high school and you share this with other girls, your teachers and your counselors, about the program and the importance of computer science education for young women like you. We're hoping to see double the applicants from your school next year, so please talk to your friends and encourage at least two, maybe three, more girls to apply next year. Contrary to what you sometimes hear in the media, jobs in computing and IT are plentiful and expected to grow. Right now, the Department of Labor predicts 1.4 million new jobs by 2020, yet the current educational pipeline will only supply 29% of those jobs. Your skills and talents are desperately needed to fill these jobs. Beyond that, the technology needs you. We're looking forward to seeing all the great solutions you will create for the world, as well as the wide range of problems that you will solve. You should be very proud of yourselves. Your parents should be very proud of you. We received over 1200 applications nationally this year and as an aspirations awards recipient, you represent the most promising talent in this field. We want you to know that we, the NCWIT members community, over 300 academic institutions, companies, non-profits, many of whom are here today, are eager to help you succeed. We encourage you to continue exploring your interest in computing and IT, and please let us know how we can help. Behind every one of these girls 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 to encourage young women to continue exploring their interest in computing and technology. Each awardee, thanks to Google and Defrag, each awardee receives up to $1000 to spend on computing related professional development. Here to introduce this year's educator award recipient is our last year's award recipient, Baker Franke. Baker Franke is a teacher at the University of Illinois Chicago Lab Schools. He has worked to increase the visibility and credibility of high school computer science. He helped institute a computer science graduation requirement at the lab schools, and the result was the development of an introductory course for all ninth graders. He is proud of the number of young women who take AP computer science at his school and go on to major in CS or a related field. For the past two years, he has seen 50% female enrollment in AP computer science, which he credits in part to the visibility that receiving the NCWIT aspirations award provides young women in the school. In December, I had the pleasure of seeing Baker recognized at the White House as a champion for change for women and girls in STEM. He has a BA in computer science and english from Amherst College, and a Master's in computer science from the University of Chicago. Welcome Baker. [audience applauding]

BAKER FRANKE: Thank you Ruth. Do you know why I was at the White House? NCWIT and Ruth. I like to say that everything good thing that's happened to me as a teacher so far in my life has been because of NCWIT, so I'm very indebted to the organization. Thank you. Amy Wozniak has been teaching computer classes for nine years, including six years at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a Chicago public school. She is very passionate about getting more girls involved in the male saturated field of computer science. Amy tries to initiate interest by getting young girls to participate in an after school technology club geared specifically toward girls. This club teaches them about various software programs and gets them more involved in community related technology programs. The girls participated in a program to rebuild computers from recycled parts. They have also competed in state-wide technology contests, winning over $4,000 in prizes. When she isn't teaching, Amy likes to run half marathons, completing three in the past eight months. I can't even believe it says that. [audience laughing] She recently ran the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon in California. Here are some quotes that we've gathered from Amy's students. "My teacher should be recognized "for the NCWIT educator award "because she exhibits excellence "by spreading her knowledge about computers "through great teaching methods. "She lights up the classroom "with her enthusiasm and ambitious attitude "toward teaching computing. "She dedicates a lot of her time "to look for opportunities so that "the girls in the club can expand "and explore different types of technologies. "She goes above and beyond in everything she does. "She has opened my eyes to the world "of the technology field, specifically computer science. "Before I took the computer courses, "I didn't have an interest in a specific career. "She encouraged me to learn more about computer science, "and I realized that I wanted "a career in the technology field." Congratulations Amy. [audience applauding]

WOMAN: Do you need them to step forward a little?

PHOTOGRAPHER: If you don't mind.

WOMAN: Come a little bit forward. There we go. [audience applauding]

RUTHE FARMER: We've had the pleasure of giving that award to close to 45 teachers now, so we're very excited about the community that that is building as well. Our next speaker and presenter is a representative of Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions has been a partner with the aspirations award program for a long time, and a recent infusion of cash has enabled us to grow the program by 20 affiliates next year, this year 10, and another six or seven next year. Here to introduce our award winners is their CIO, Leslie Jones. Leslie is a Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Motorola Solutions. In this role, Leslie oversees all strategic operational and financial aspects of the company's IT architecture, systems, tools, processes, and infrastructure. A seasoned leader, she first joined Motorola in 2000 when the company was acquired by General Instrument, where she was Chief Information Officer. Since then, she's held numerous positions within Motorola, most recently as the Vice President for IT for Motorola's enterprise Mobility Solutions, and home and networks mobility segments, where she was responsible for the business global IT and engineering computing systems. Previously, she served as Deputy CIO for Motorola and led application outsourcing, quality assurance, and process excellence efforts for Motorola IT worldwide. Leslie earned a Bachelor's Degree from Duke University, and a Master's and PhD from New York University. She has worked in a diverse range of disciplines, including academics, fine arts management, engineering, and corporate auditing. She received the Computer World Premiere IT Leaders Award in 2010, and is a 2008 and 2010 Business Technology Leadership CIO Award winner. Welcome Leslie Jones. [audience applauding]

LESLIE JONES: Thank you very much. I can't tell you how pleased I am to be here representing Motorola Solutions at this event. We are so proud of our association with this group for what you have done, what you are doing, and perhaps even more significantly, as we're about to see, for what you will be doing in the future. As many of you may know, Motorola Solutions is a global, leading provider of mission critical communication, tools, processes, and equipment. What does that mean? That means when you go shopping and you buy something, you're probably using Motorola Solutions Equipment. If you go to an airport, they're using it. If you go to a hospital, they're also using it. Some of these projects are fun, like providing all of the communication for the Olympics. Others are serious, like providing the life saving first responder communication equipment that policemen and firemen around the world use to save lives. We're very pleased to be in an environment where technology is the core of our existence. For that reason, we are deeply committed to the concern about the future. You've just heard the numbers about the need for technologists in the future, whether that be in any realm of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, and the shortage that's before us. We are always looking for opportunities to advance that pipeline. Organizations such as this are one of them. In fact, our philanthropic arm, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, gives over $4.8 million a year in the U.S. to organizations such as this one to promote those very activities. I think I feel very honored to take part in a group like today, where we really are going to be seeing and talking about the future. That's the winners who are able to be with us today, and the few who unfortunately could not join us today, but are here in spirit and certainly in enthusiasm, with the awards that we would like to give them. Now, let me introduce our 2012 Aspirations in Computing award winners. Our first winner, Safia Abdalla. Safia, would you come forward? [applauding] Safia feels that computers have changed the way we treat information. She enjoys looking at the ways information can be analyzed to make it easier for humans to access and more efficient for computers to analyze. Safia plans to get a PhD in computer science so that she can work one day to become a professor at a university in Chicago. She hopes to work on with a search engine capable of processing natural language queries to efficiently and accurately cluster the results, a great aspiration. Safia, congratulations. [applauding] Our next award winner is Briana Chapman. Briana, come forward. [applauding] This past summer, Briana worked for the National Center for Supercomputing Application and was hired to assist with a week-long summer camp for 38 middle school girls. She was originally hired to facilitate the logistics of the camp, but she ended up teaching an entire day of classes for the Girls Engaged in Math and Science workshop. This year, Briana is leading the program and developing curriculum for the workshop. She plans to pursue a major in math and computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Congratulations Briana. [applauding] Our next winner, Beth Cholst, is unable to join us today, but I would like to tell you a little bit about Beth. Beth enjoys using computer technology to further her interest in mathematics. She has attended the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and while there, used Mathematica to help her develop proofs. Last summer, Beth attended Operation Catapult at Rose Hulman College and worked with a group of three to create an automated candy dispenser that was sound activated. I'll go for that. [audience laughing] Beth will most likely be attending MIT as a Mechanical Engineering major this fall. We're sorry she can't join us, but in spirit, we applaud her accomplishments. [applauding] Mia Gil Epner. [applauding] Mia is particularly interested in the problem solving aspects of computing, and therefore hopes one day to pursue a career in the area of algorithmic studies and, or cryptology. She finds the field fascinating because it is something that is so necessary for the safety of people and information, but is something only an elite group completely understand. She plans to enter college to obtain her degree in computer science and one day become a cryptologist for the government or an internal security company. Worthy, worthy aims. Congratulations. [applauding] Manar Ihmud. [applauding] Manar's mother was born and raised in a village in Palestine. Her house did not have electricity, a television, or a computer. Manar saw how her mother struggled with computers and so began teaching herself how to use them at a very early age. Manar plans to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago to major in computer science. After college, she would like to become a high school computer science teacher and future winner of the award. [applauding] Madeline Lindsey. [applauding] Over this past summer, Maddie was asked to manage the technology services and support for the Summer Lab Program, a summer camp and school with over 1200 attendees run by the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. In her free time, Maddie likes to design and create iPhone application and is the process of submitting them to the Apple App Store in the hopes that others will be able to enjoy her work. In the future, Maddie hopes to attend college, where she will study computer science and would like to work at the Pixar Animation Studio. Great ambition. [applauding] Our next award winner is, unfortunately couldn't be here today, as she is participating in her own graduation, something I think we'll understand the prioritization here. Let me tell you a little about Katharine Mehan. Katharine Mehan credits her time spent in GAMES, and that isn't just playing things, that's Girls Adventure in Math, Engineering, and Science, at UIUC, as what first got her interested in computer science. Through the program, she's learned to use Alice, Squeak, ROBO Pro, and various other computing software. Katharine will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in material science and engineering. She hopes to obtain a research and development position in the field after she graduates. Katharine, all best. [applauding] Patricia Perozo. [applauding] Patricia became involved in computer science with a mandatory course for freshmen taught by Baker Franke, so see your work is definitely paying off. From this course, she proceeded to take the AP course where she developed a program that compares thousands of documents and determines if there is a plagiarism based on the number of similarities between them. She's gonna have more fans in the teaching staff than the students. [audience laughing] In the future, Patricia would like to attend a university to study computer science or engineering, and she's well on the way. Patricia, congratulations. [applauding] Hannah Resnick. [applauding] In her spare time, Hannah helped to set up a book reviewing program for public schools in the south side of Chicago. She hopes that her work will continue to benefit the youth of Chicago in the years to come. Hannah plans to attend college to obtain a degree in computer science, and plans to use her knowledge and skills to spread the work around about computer science. Worthy goals. [applauding] Tania Salgado. [applauding] Tania is the President of a girls only computer club called Wicked Web Women. That's pretty hot, isn't it? [audience laughing] That was founded by her computer science teacher, Amy Wozniak. The purpose of the club is to encourage more female students to take part in the STEM field and become more aware and interested in technology. Tania is especially interested in biomedical engineering, specifically in bionics. She would like the opportunity to apply a technology to medical advances that could potentially change the life of someone who has lost an appendage. An absolutely great goal. Congratulations. [applauding] Divya Shanmugam. [applauding] Divya began her path to technology courses as a freshman in an introductory class to programming, and noticed she was the only girl in the class. From there, Divya's interest in programming took off and she continued to take many more computing and technology classes. Divya spent the summer interning at Northwestern University, working in bioinformatics. This internship fueled her passion for combining the organic sciences and technology. One day Divya hopes to make a career out of bioinformatics, which will benefit us all. Congratulations. [applauding] Our next recipient, Hannah Thomas, is unable to join us tonight for the same reason, she's graduating. Again, let me tell you about Hannah. Hannah was convinced to take a computer science course by her teacher, Andy Brendle, who has been her teacher for two years, and her robotics mentor for four years. Hannah's bot ball team won second place overall in the 2012 Bot Ball Competition. They also received first place in seeding, outstanding documentation, and the spirit award. Hannah plans to attend college and eventually plans to be a human factors engineer, and would love to have the chance to work with airplanes. Well done Hannah. [applauding] Our next award winner, Hannah Tomio, who is here. Hannah. [applauding] Hannah's teacher, Baker Franke, encouraged her to take AP computer science and later, an independent study in computer science. One of her proudest moments was when she was one of two girls chosen to represent her school in the Science Careers in Search of Women Conference, at the Argon National Laboratory. After high school, Hannah plans on attending college to major in computer science or mechanical engineering. She's off to a great start. [applauding] Abril Vela. [applauding] Abril first became interested in IT in the seventh grade, when she participated in her school's rocketry program. When she entered high school, she was informed about Google Code-In and the Microsoft DigiGirlz, both of which she participates in today. This year, she also joined the First Tech Robotics Team and the Tinkering Club. Abril would like to major in computer engineering or computer science in college. We wish you the best. [applauding] Our final award winner for today, Camryn Williams. [applauding] Now Camryn's first experience with computers goes back to preschool, where she helped solve Nancy Drew mysteries. Since then, Camryn's taken classes in AP computer science, computer aided design, web design, 3D drawing, and animation. In these classes, Camryn noticed that she was one of only a few girls and thus warmly embraces the hope that she can serve as a role model to other young female students. Camryn plans to study computer science in college, and continue her role as a model. Camryn, best to you. [applauding] You know there is a common phrase that one says, "The future starts today." I would like to ask you to join me in acknowledging the future that starts today for all of us, these young women, and what they represent. Congratulation award winners. [applauding]

RUTHE FARMER: Thank you very much Leslie, that was a great ending. [sniffling] [audience laughing] I know all of you here are itchin' to get your hands on these girls, but we are, like a wedding, we're gonna take pictures, so hang on, they'll be out. They have little green things on their name tags so you can spot them. I know the rest of us look so young. [audience laughing] In closing, I would like to thank all the teachers and educators and academics in the room, both in and out of school, for all that you do to encourage and support young women, especially the parents. Would the parents of these girls please stand? [audience applauding] You have clearly done a great job so far. Please continue to support your daughter in exploring her interests, whatever they may be. We hope they're computing, but if they're not, that's okay. [audience laughing] We're gonna leave you tonight with the winning Aspirations Award video. Before we do that, I have a couple of pieces of housekeeping. One, breakfast is at 7:45 until 9:00, when we start our sessions. Snap early, if you're not in here, we're just [clicking tongue], you're in trouble. Be here at 9:00. From here, you're gonna proceed over to the reception. We're gonna play this video. This was the winning video from our individual category of our challenge. We wouldn't let the girls violate any copyright, or steal any stuff off the web, so they had to do everything original. This is original music written and performed by Alexandra Whiteness. Enjoy the rest of the evening. I'll see you at the reception. You know, if you want to recruit, go for it. [audience laughing] I want to thank our sponsors that are up there, Bank of America, yes. Roll video.

[mellow music] ♪ Ooh, ooh, yeah ♪ ♪ Every since the dawn of time ♪ ♪ Men ruled the world of technology ♪ ♪ Technology ♪ ♪ But now us girls are rising up ♪ ♪ You better watch out boys ♪ ♪ Cause here we come ♪ ♪ Here we come ♪ ♪ We can code and program and edit and more ♪ ♪ All we have to do is start ♪ ♪ To learn all we can ♪ ♪ And challenge the man ♪ ♪ Information technology ♪ ♪ That's the plan ♪ ♪ You can do what you want to ♪ ♪ If you just believe ♪ ♪ Just believe ♪ ♪ Creativity ♪ ♪ Opportunity ♪ ♪ Activity ♪ ♪ Women in IT ♪ ♪ Creativity ♪ ♪ Opportunity ♪ ♪ Activity ♪ ♪ Women in IT ♪ ♪ Creativity ♪ ♪ Ah yeah ♪ ♪ Ooh ooh ♪ ♪ Ah yeah ♪ ♪ Oh oh ♪ ♪ All the possibilities ♪ ♪ All that you can be ♪ ♪ Women in information technology ♪ [applauding]

RUTHE FARMER: Like I said before, those videos are all available online. We can tweet out the link and send it to you if you'd like. Again, thanks to all of our sponsors and all of the hundreds of organizations that help support this program, and make this possible for girls all over the United States. We're aiming for 1,000 girls by next year annually, and that's a lot of young women potentially coming into your schools and companies, so thank you for your support. If you want to help, just talk to me. Thank you. [audience applauding]