Advance IT to host women’s computing award

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MHTA – Advance IT Minnesota has announced it will host the first “Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing Award.” It is seeking sponsors to provide prizes and help drive awareness of national and state award opportunities honoring high school age young women for their computing-related achievements and interests.

The technology award, founded in 2007 by the non-profit organization National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), honors young women in high school grades 9-12 from throughout the United States. Plans are currently underway to offer a Minnesota Affiliate award opportunity as well. While the primary audience for the first year offering is young women in the Twin Cities metro area, students from throughout the state are eligible.

Student generated applications can be submitted from mid-September through early November. The state award is intended to create inspiration for young women to become our next, best Minnesota-grown technologists. Winners will be chosen based on their interests, accomplishments, and community involvement in computing and technology, as well as for their aspirations in computing and technology-related fields. For more information, visit aspirationsawards.org.

To support the award program, Advance IT Minnesota is seeking corporate partners and volunteers to donate prizes and possibly future internships for award winners. They’re also seeking help promoting the contest through relationships that technology companies in the Twin Cities area have with local high schools. If you’d like to learn more or provide prizes or support outreach efforts, please contact Russell Fraenkel, Advance IT Minnesota Director of Collaborative Programs and Outreach, at Russell.Fraenkel@metrostate.edu or 651-253-9438.

The sixth year of the national effort by NCWIT comes amid a sharp, cross-generation gender gap in science, technology and math. Despite holding six in ten American jobs, women held just 25 percent of computing occupations in 2011, according to NCWIT.

For girls the divide is equally deep: While they were 56 percent of Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers last year, only 46 percent of girls took the AP Calculus test and just 19 percent took the AP Computer Science test.

Of the 1.4 million expected openings for computer specialists in 2020, the current number of American graduates can fill only 30 percent. With support of local IT leaders, Minnesota girls interested in technology and computing can help bridge that gap.

Watch for more information in mid-September regarding recruitment of young women to submit award applications.

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