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

[upbeat introduction music]

RUTHE FARMER: Good evening and welcome to the Arizona Award for Aspirations and Computing. We are very excited to recognize this amazing group of young women this evening. Before we get started, I would like to acknowledge each of the NCWIT members in the room for their support and contributions in Aspirations and Computing. You’ve probably seen over the last couple of days that almost everybody’s participating in some way and if you’re not, you will be soon. Thank you, 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. [applauding] [cheering] So, this message is gonna start directed at the girls. Unlike most award competitions where the award is the culmination of your work, where you work 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 will do everything we can to help you succeed. In your bags tonight, you will receive a blue packet from NCWIT. This packet details many of the ways that we will help you and all the resources available to you, including introductions to computer science faculty at any of our 300 university partners. Connections with NCWIT workforce alliance companies for internships and jobs and other events, and especially membership in our exclusive online community. Winners of the NCWIT award for Aspirations and Computing which most of you are already probably members of, raise your hand if you are. Good, okay, join the Facebook group. You have mobile phones, please do that. Thank you to our new Aspirations and Computing Community Initiative, sponsored by Bloomberg. We actually have 20 Aspiration Award Alumni here today, I would like for them to stand up and be recognized. [applauding] So, next year, you will be one of them, potentially, and these young ladies have gone to the White House, they have been recognized in major media, on Huffington Post, and in other ways. So welcome to being part of that community. The packet also contains duties of the crown. There are strings attached and 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 are hoping to see double the applicants from your school next year, so 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 U.S. Department of Labor predicts 1.4 million new jobs in the field by 2018, yet the current pipeline will fill about 29% of those. Beyond that, technology needs you. We at NCWIT believe that technology is better when it is created by everyone that uses it and 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 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 and 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 interests and computing in 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. [applauding] So, behind every student is the great educator. The Aspirations and 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 and their career. Here to present our Aspirations Arizona Educator Award is last year’s winner Catherine Wyman, who happens to have nine award recipients here tonight.


RUTHE FARMER: I would like to bring to the stand Sam Alexander. Sam is a computer science teacher and a 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 designing, 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. And of the team that attended the championships, over the 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.” Congratulations. [applauding] I am really amazed that I was able to hold together with that, because I have a hard time with the educator award usually. Without the support the 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 would like to ask Matthew Blakely from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, Jackie Meyer-Bravence from the Bloomberg R&D internal systems, and Tony Hey, Vice-President of Microsoft Research Connections to come to the stage. [applauding]

RUTHE FARMER: So, ladies, you are going to process up this way and take it away, Tony.

TONY HEY: So you want me stand here, is that okay?

RUTHE FARMER: Stand wherever you would like.

TONY HEY: Okay, so it’s great to be here, thanks very much, Ruthe. Microsoft is obviously very proud to participate in the Aspirations in Computing Program, and I would like to give congratulations to all of the 2013 Arizona Aspirations and Computing Award recipients. I will start tonight with the 2013 Arizona runners up. So the first is Amanda Marquis, from Valley Vista High School. Amanda is a sophomore at Valley Vista High School. She is involved 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 become a digital art designer or program designer. [applauding]


TONY HEY: 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. [applauding] Well done, thank you very much.

TONY HEY: Now I am pleased to introduce our 2013 Arizona Aspirations and Computing Award winners. We will 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 high school diploma, but also with her associates 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. [applauding] The next is DaLia Hughes from Chandler High School. DaLia is involved with her high school’s computer programming classes, as well as 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. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Dianne Numkena is also from Xavier College Preparatory. Showing 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 that graphed the curve of a sound wave on to a wall and she measured the distance of the wave using echolocation. After she graduates, Dianne would like to major in computer software engineering. Congratulations. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Genevieve Valladao from the 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 Girls Have IT Day, an event introducing middle school girls to the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Congratulations. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Next is Kate Welty from Xavier College Preparatory. Kate has been involved in programming at her school and is an officer of Independent Study Engineering Program. Together with another Aspirations Award winner, Kate applied for and received a middle school campground 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. [applauding] Congratulations. Thank you.

TONY HEY: 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 State University for a degree in journalism. Congratulations, Kellie.

KELLIE REYNOLDS: Thank you. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Next is Laura Stanovich from Lake Havasu High School. With aspirations in computer and engineering from her 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 school’s USA Drafting Program. Laura will be attending Arizona State University in the fall for biomedical engineering. Congratulations, well done. [applauding]

TONY HEY: 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’s Poly’s Cyber-Forensic 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. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Maria Martinez from Tolleson 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 so her statistics teacher recommended she take AP Computer Science. In the future, Maria hopes to pursue the computing and technology field. Congratulations, Maria. [applauding]

TONY HEY: 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 is also a member of the school’s team that attended the JETS Team competition in the spring at Arizona State University. Natalie is currently the co-president of her school’s EPICS Program. Congratulations, Natalie. [applauding]

TONY HEY: 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 is 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. [applauding]

TONY HEY: Sarah Fakler from Xavier College Preparatory. Of the many things she is 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-Forensic Hacking team where they attempt to solve mysteries using computer 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 storages, and scarcity of energy. Congratulations. [applauding]

TONY HEY: But last but not least is 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 is 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. [applauding] Congratulations again to our 2013 Arizona Aspiration Award recipients. [applauding] This reminded me when I was Dean and I had to read out all the names at graduation. It was very tough, I remember. [audience laughing] But not as tough as this, thank you.

RUTHE FARMER: So, in closing, I would like to thank all the educators, both in and out of the 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 daughter’s interest in exploring technology, whatever they may be, and other interests, of course. We also would like to thank all of our sponsors. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to do this and recognize these young women. And thank you, everyone, for being here. I hope you will connect with these young ladies at the reception.

WOMAN: Actually, we have a video because Ruthe is the heart of this program, the girls came together and made a video for her. So, we have video to show you.

GIRL 1: Hey Ruthe, thank you so much for everything you have done for me and the NCWIT girls. We love you. You are amazing. Thank you.

GIRL 2: Continue to be awesome and be our job, Fairy Godmother. Really, thank you for all you do.

GIRL 3: Thank you so much, Ruthe, for everything that you’ve done. Your continuous help and encouragement is incredibly supportive. I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s greatly appreciated, so thank you so much.

GIRL 4: Ruthe, thank you so much for everything. You really are a Fairy Godmother.

GIRL 5: Hi Ruthe, I wanted to thank you so much for just being such an inspiration to me and to hundreds and thousands of other girls across the U.S. I just think it’s so amazing how you are constantly traveling all over the place and you are actively participating in all these events. Then you are still able to log on to Facebook and Twitter, constantly respond what we are saying on the Facebook page, and what people are saying on Twitter. I just think it’s amazing and I have no idea how you do it all. I wanted to definitely thank you for it because it’s just really incredible to me how you do it all. Thank you. [applauding]

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