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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Dell Rapids Students Honored at DSU Ceremony

NCWIT local winner Janae Hahn is congratulated by Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths (left) and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard at a ceremony at DSU on April 12.

NCWIT local winner Janae Hahn is congratulated by Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths (left) and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard at a ceremony at DSU on April 12.

MADISON, S.D., April 20, 2017 – “Believe in yourself,” is simple advice, yet it is sometimes hard to do, said South Dakota’s governor Dennis Daugaard.

“The biggest challenge we all have is believing that we can accomplish something when others doubt us and when we may doubt ourselves,” he stated.

Daugaard’s remarks were made at Dakota State University during the 2017 NCWIT (National Center for Women in IT) Award Ceremony held on campus April 12, where 17 high school women from North and South Dakota and two South Dakota technology teachers were honored with the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) award.

Among the honorees was Janae Hahn of Dell Rapids High School, who was a Local Winner. She is planning a career in electrical engineering, math and statistics. Bergen Weiland of Dell Rapids High School was a Local Honorable Mention awardee. She is planning a career in artificial intelligence and robotics. Students were selected on the basis of their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.

NCWIT local honorable mention winner Bergen Weiland is congratulated by Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths (left) and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard at a ceremony at DSU on April 12.

NCWIT local honorable mention winner Bergen Weiland is congratulated by Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths (left) and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard at a ceremony at DSU on April 12.

“We know that a sense of belonging is a key persistence factor for young women who chose computing degrees and careers,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “Not only do these awards increase the visibility of young technical women and their educators, they also grant entry into an inclusive community of peers that support each other in advancing their innovative dreams.”

AiC provides 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. This is the 11th season of the Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC), and the 6th year with regional affiliates. The South and North Dakota region honored eight winners at their first event in 2013.

To date, AiC has publicly recognized nearly 4,700 young women for their interests and achievements in technology. Seventy-one percent of those are now in college, pursuing a computer science or engineering degree. More than 150 educators have been recognized through AiC as well. Lori Goldade, district technology coordinator at Warner School District, was this year’s teacher award winner; Amber Fluth, business computer teacher at Tri-Valley, was the runner-up.

Daugaard encouraged the high school women to consider careers in computing, because the work they could do is important. In 2016, there were 1.6 million attacks on the South Dakota state government, he stated, so “we need people like you to help defend our state, defend our businesses and our nation against attackers like this.”

He also asked the girls to consider Dakota State for their academic degrees, calling the school a cyber leader in America. “It’s an excellent institution of higher learning,” he said.

“We want all of our students to experience the world as it’s going to be through the use and application of emerging and available technologies — a distinguishing feature of this institution,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths.

Alexis Perez, an analyst with Facebook, was another special guest at the ceremony, teaching the winners about Python coding with a hands-on project. Presenters included the NCWIT Regional Program Director Ammi Ludwick, and Dakota State University faculty Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, Pam Rowland and Dr. Kyle Cronin.

Sponsoring partners for this event were Dakota State University, AiC, National Center for Women and Information Technology, and DSU’s Center of Excellence in Computer Information Systems. Also assisting was DSU’s new CybHER outreach program, a movement to add more gender diversity to the field of cybersecurity through a variety of events and interactions.

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Dakota State University is a public university located in Madison, South Dakota, part of the State of South Dakota Regental system of specialized schools and universities.  Founded in 1881 as a teacher’s college, it maintains that heritage mission, while also carrying out its signature mission of technology-infused and technology-intensive degrees.  The university offers both undergraduate (Associate and Baccalaureate) and graduate degrees (Masters and Doctorate).  It has grown rapidly in national recognition as a technology-forward school, and has significant partnerships with the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, among others, for DSU’s cyber security-related programs.  For more information, please contact Jane Utecht, Strategic Communications Coordinator at mediarelations@dsu.edu, 605-256-5027. The DSU website is http://www.dsu.edu.

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Dell Rapids High School Student Wins SD/ND NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

ShaunaBrechDell Rapids High School student Shauna Brech has received the North and South Dakota NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.  The award, sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), the East Dakota Educational Cooperative – Career Link Program, Sanford Research, and the Great Plains Girls Collaborative Project, recognizes high school women for their computing-related achievements and interests as part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology.

Brech was one of just eight award-winners who were selected from high schools across the two-state area for their outstanding aptitude and interest in information technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.

“The awards committee was impressed with Shauna’s willingness to look beyond the classroom in her attempts to develop new skills.  Her ability to seek out and find broadcast technology projects really demonstrates her initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.   We admire her for that and are eager to see what she does next,” said Kristy Jackson, regional NCWIT awards chairwoman.

These regional award winners were formally recognized during an event in Sioux Falls SD.  Regional winners are now eligible to compete for exclusive internships and scholarships, which are designed to further support their career aspirations.

“Encouraging young women’s interest in technology careers is critical: our workforce needs their creativity and their innovation,” said Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-founder of NCWIT.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance. Increasing the number of women in technology and computing also has the potential to improve the design of products and services to better serve a more diverse population, and increase economic and social well-being by providing more women with stable and lucrative careers. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Kristy Jackson, Career Link Program Manager
NCWIT, regional awards coordinator (SD/ND)
East Dakota Educational Cooperative
715 East 14th St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
kjackson@edec.org
(605) 367-7680 x 120

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