Who will invent the next iPhone, Google or Facebook? The next crop of great tech leaders will likely include Ananya Mishra and Annelies Odermann, both juniors at Wayzata High School.
Mishra was named a winner, and Odermann is a runner-up, in the inaugural Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing Award, which includes six winners and five runners-up from across the state.
These 11 winners/runners-up (including nine from the Twin Cities) were chosen to receive the first-time honor based on their interests, accomplishments and community involvement in computing and technology—as well as for their aspirations in computing and technology-related fields.
Additionally, one Minnesota student was named a winner of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award, an honor given to only 35 students in the nation. Another Minnesota student was selected as a runner-up for the national award.
Mishra, Odermann and the other winners will receive prizes during an awards event hosted at Unisys Corporation in Eagan in April 2013.
Despite holding six in 10 American jobs, women held just 25 percent of computer-related occupations in 2011. For high school girls, the divide is equally deep: while they were 56 percent of advanced placement test-takers last year, only 19 percent took the AP computer science test. What’s more, of the 1.4 million expected openings for computer specialists in 2020, the current number of American graduates can fill only 30 percent.
The awards program was created to help bridge this gender and talent gap, and recognize and encourage young women in high school interested in computers and technology. Although the award has national roots, this is the first year of the awards program in Minnesota.