Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Murray High, AMES students top technology awards in computing

Sep 21, 2020 12:31PM ● By Julie Slama

Samantha Wilhelm, of Murray High, was an honorable mention regional winner of the National Center for Women & Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. (Photo courtesy of NCWIT)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

An AMES girl recently was awarded regional winners of the National Center for Women & Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing.

AMES student Maili Vu was honored March 7 as they “significantly demonstrated interest and aptitude for computing.” She was one of the 16 regional winners who received an engraved crystal trophy for the high school as well as individual crystal, scholarship opportunities and technology prizes.

AMES classmate Katheryn Wesley was named as an honorable mention regional winner as well as Murray High’s Shae Harmon and Samantha Wilhelm. Madisen Homer, of Murray High, received the Rising Star award.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors ninth- through 12th-grade students for their computing-related achievements and interests, and encourages them to pursue their passions. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education. 

Vu recently graduated from AMES where she was the programming leader for her school’s robotics team and competed in the world championships. She has helped kids learn about robotics and introduced the concepts of coding using block code. She plans to study electrical engineering in college and wants to create different types of robots to better people’s lives.

Other area regional winners are Manya Nair, Riverton High; Katelyn Swain, JATC; Maya Heesch, Providence Hall; Sydney Leister, Mountain Ridge High; and Sanjana Kargi and Abigail Slama-Catron, both of Hillcrest High.

Area honorable mention awards went to Marianne Liu of Sandy, West High; Cynthia Perez-Pacheco, GTI; Tea Flores, Herriman High; Lillian McElheny, Riverton High; Quinn Quinley, Riverton; Tiare Jorquera, GTI; Kayla Bacon, Herriman High; Michelle Chiem, Herriman High; and Maria Feist, Herriman High.

Area Rising Star awards, for those who are starting out in their pursuit of studying computing, went to Kaitlyn Lowe, Brighton High; Ashley Hillstead, Beehive Academy; Hannah Braeger, Herriman High; Alayna Pinales, GTI; and Grace Haglund, Olympus High.

Since 2007, nearly 17,000 students have received an Aspirations in Computing award and regional affiliate award programs are hosted in 79 locations nationwide by NCWIT member organizations—a national network of universities, companies, nonprofits, and government organizations working to increase the influence and meaningful participation of girls and women from every community.

According to its website, NCWIT was chartered in 2005 by the National Science Foundation and is a nonprofit community that convenes, equips, and unites change leader organizations to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women—at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability status—in the field of computing, particularly in terms of innovation and development.