Dell Rapids’ Students, Teacher Honored at NCWIT Ceremony

MADISON, S.D., May 2, 2018 –Twenty-seven young women from North and South Dakota have begun to write their life stories in the field of technology.

“We need to know the stories of women in computing today,” said Dakota State University President Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, “to awaken this generation of young women, and the next and the next, to their potential to participate and lead in the computer workforce.”

Eva Bradshaw, regional affiliate manager with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), praised the achievements of “these brave young women” at the 2018 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Award Ceremony held on the Dakota State University campus April 23.

TomesDSUHonorees in the North/South Dakota affiliate region from Dell Rapids High School include: Amanda Tomes, who received honorable mention and is planning a career in chemical engineering; and Bergen Weiland who also received honorable mention and is planning a career in artificial intelligence and robotics. Selection is based on the student’s aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. WeilandDSU

Liza Mundy, the featured speaker, highlighted stories of other women in computing, women called into service during World War II. They are featured in her best-selling book Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers in World War II.

During the war years a majority of men were called into service, forcing the military to look at other sources for intelligence department workers, namely school teachers and students at women’s colleges. “Global war is the mother of innovation and inclusion,” Mundy said.

Today global war involves cyber security issues, and there are not enough men to fill workforce needs in technology, Griffiths said, so “the ongoing success of our world depends on getting more women into computing.”

Guest speaker Linda Daugaard, first lady of South Dakota, said the Aspiration award winners represent “a rich and ready source… of highly qualified young women ready to enter the computer or information technology area.”

Bradshaw noted that NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing organization can provide a long-term community for female technologists by encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development.

HeadrickDSUTwo educators were honored at the event as well. Tina Boldt-Belden, technology coordinator and high school computer teacher at Estelline School District, was this year’s teacher award winner. Runner-up was Scott Headrick, K-12 technology integrationist and high school personal finance and business math teacher at Dell Rapids Schools. Also honored was DSU freshman Alexis Vander Wilt, a collegiate national finalist.

Presenters included the Dakota State University faculty Dr. Pam Rowland, Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, and Rob Honomichl. Sponsoring partners for the 2018 event were Dakota State University, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, AT&T, SBS CyberSecurity, and DSU’s CybHER program.

This is the twelfth season of the Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC), and the seventh year with regional affiliates. The South and North Dakota region honored eight winners at their first event in 2013.

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These April 23, 2018 photos provided by Dakota State University:

NCWIT AWARD winner – Amanda Tomes was honored at the April 23 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award ceremony held at Dakota State University. Also pictured are guest speaker Liza Mundy (left), First Lady Linda Daugaard, and DSU President José-Marie Griffiths (right).

NCWIT AWARD winner – Bergen Weiland was honored at the April 23 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award ceremony held at Dakota State University. Also pictured are guest speaker Liza Mundy (left), First Lady Linda Daugaard, and DSU President José-Marie Griffiths (right).

WINNING TEACHER – Scott Headrick was honored with the NCWIT North/South Dakota Affiliate runner-up teacher award. Also pictured are guest speaker Liza Mundy (left), First Lady Linda Daugaard, and DSU President José-Marie Griffiths (right).

Dakota State University is a public university located in Madison, S.D. DSU offers technology-intensive and technology-infused degrees in a variety of majors, from the associate to the doctoral level. Strategic partnerships with governmental entities and corporations have bolstered DSU’s position as a technologically forward-thinking institution. Both online and on-campus programs have been recognized for their quality, affordability, and graduates’ job placement records, which are 100 percent for several majors. Enrollment for Fall 2017 was 3,307. For more information, contact Jane Utecht, Strategic Communications Coordinator at mediarelations@dsu.edu, 605-256-5027, or visit the DSU website at dsu.edu.

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