Nine District 196 high school students are among the 37 young women selected to receive a 2019 Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing Award from the Minnesota State Information Technology Center for Excellence and the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
The annual award celebrates the efforts of young high school women in their pursuit of technology education and career opportunities. As part of this recognition, the students are eligible for job shadowing experiences, paid internship opportunities and cash awards.
The students from District 196 who were selected state or national winners, or honorable mention recipients are Olivia Alberts, Lara Erdmann, Shaza Hussein and Shayla Lunn from Rosemount High School, and Nora Dixon, Grace Hansen, Anusha Sharma, Corinn Sievwright and Prapthi Jayesh Sirrkayfrom Eagan High School.
In addition to the nine award winners, 10 District 196 students were selected as Certificate of Distinction or Rising Star honorees. The Certificate of Distinction honorees are Lisa Lee of Apple Valley High School; Mikayla Joa, Livvy Johnson and Rani Shah of Eagan High; Harita Duggirala and Akansha Kamineni of Eastview High School, and Sydney Essler, Regan Hansen and Kaitlin McKenzie of Rosemount High. Ashley Chen of Eagan High was named a Rising Star honoree.
The award winners and honorees will be recognized at the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award ceremony April 17. Eagan High School teacher George Behnke will also be recognized as an honorable mention recipient in the educator category.
Brief profiles of the state and national award winners and honorable mention recipients from District 196 follow.
Read more about the District 196 honorees:
Olivia Alberts, Senior at Rosemount High School
Olivia is a State Winner and a 2018 Certificate of Distinction recipient. Her passions include Mandarin Chinese and computer science. She leads Rosemount High School’s Hack Club, a computer science club teaching complete beginners the basics of computer science and igniting them with a passion for the subject. Olivia plans to attend college to pursue a career in computer science and international business.
Nora Dixon, Sophomore at Eagan High School
Nora is a State Honorable Mention recipient and received a Certificate of Distinction in 2018. She is involved with Technovation and FIRST Tech Challenge robotics. Her Technovation team, Computer Glitz, has been a World Semi-Finalist twice. She has planned and led many events for young girls to participate in hands-on STEM learning.
Lara Erdmann, Senior at Rosemount High School
Lara is a State Honorable Mention recipient and a 2018 Certificate of Distinction recipient. She is now in her second year of computer science and is taking a number of Advanced Placement, College in the Schools and dual enrollment courses. Lara is planning to major in computer science with a minor in sociology of law, criminology and deviance.
Grace Hansen, Senior at Eagan High School
Grace is a National Honorable Mention recipient. She was also honored as a 2018 National Honorable Mention recipient, 2018 State Winner, 2017 State Honorable Mention recipient and 2016 Certificate of Distinction recipient. She discovered her passion for engineering in second grade when she started building LEGO robots, and she has been on a FIRST Robotics team ever since. Currently, Grace is a programmer, builder, and driver of the wheels on The Green Girls Robotics team. After graduating from high school, Grace plans to major in mechanical engineering and product design at a four-year university.
Shaza Hussein, Senior at Rosemount High School
Shaza is a National Honorable Mention recipient. She was also honored as a 2018 State Winner. Whether it be participating in the invention fair as a child or gaining experience in engineering by incorporating technology like conductive thread into clothing to create ’smart clothing’, she has always had an intense attraction to STEM. Her favorite classes usually reside within the realm of science and math. Shaza hopes to use all the skills gained throughout her life to pursue her passion in technology and computing and to craft a better world
Shayla Lunn, Senior at Rosemount High School
Shayla is a State Honorable Mention recipient and received a Certificate of Distinction in 2018. Shayla is very passionate about encouraging other young women to be involved with STEM. She teaches a Coding for Girls class at her local elementary school to encourage students to pursue STEM careers in the future. Following high school, Shayla plans to go to college to study engineering.
Anusha Sharma, Senior at Eagan High School
Anusha is a State Winner and 2018 State Honorable Mention recipient. Her interests were initially sparked by her involvement in the FIRST Robotics program. This helped her grow and understand the depth of technology and engineering, leading her into programming to be able to code and design projects for her robotics team. To take her interest in these fields further, Anusha plans to pursue a career in computer science.
Corinn Sievwright, Senior at Eagan High School
Corinn is a State Winner and received a Certificate of Distinction in 2018. She has always excelled in math and science and found her passion for engineering and technology through her six years on a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, the Green Girls. Corinn will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she plans on incorporating her love for technology and computer science into a mechanical engineering career that can improve the lives of others.
Prapthi Jayesh Sirrkay, Sophomore at Eagan High School
Prapthi is a State Honorable Mention recipient. Since her childhood, she has loved to explore the world of science, technology, and engineering. Her appreciation for the science field was first sparked when she joined a First Lego League team. Her passion for coding continues to grow as she codes an app to help donations to organizations this year on her Technovation team, Computer Glitz. Prapthi plans to pursue a career in science and technology.