Top 10 Reasons to Apply for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

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After attending the awards ceremony as an Affiliate Award runner-up for the 2015 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, AiC Community Member Atalanta Stoeke was inspired to continue pursuing the vast opportunities within the program. Persistence paid off as Atalanta, now a sophomore at Apple Valley High School in Minnesota, was recently announced as an Affiliate Award recipient for the 2016 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. Below she shares her reasons on why she believes high school girls with any sort of interest in technology or computing should get involved with the AiC program.

Once Atalanta tells you why you should apply, let us tell you how! Applications are now open so apply today 

With the sheer number of amazing opportunities that you can gain from the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program, I believe that the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is something in which even more girls should apply. Below is my list of the top 10 reasons on why the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is so great!

  1. Awards dinner and ceremony. Any event that brings together brilliant minds, like those who attend this event, is bound to be spectacular, isn’t it? Well, this ceremony and dinner combo certainly isn’t an exception! It includes a keynote speaker, press to take your picture, a presentation where each award winner is individually recognized, a banquet dinner held for all the winners, plus you get to dress up, and you receive an award for you to keep and one to give to your school.
  2. Swag (all the cool stuff you get). For both runners-up and state winners, you get a lot of cool stuff! Most swag is dependent upon that year’s sponsors, but no matter what you get, you know it’s going to be good. For example, sponsors for this year’s event included Logic PD, Land O’ Lakes, Microsoft, and more. This year I won a new Samsung tablet, two backpacks, two bags of tech-related gear, as well as a huge bag of assorted food items.
  3. Recognition. Everyone in this ceremony has accomplished amazing things – why not own up to it? At this ceremony, you get recognized for the cool and unique things you’ve done. You get featured on NCWIT’s website, recognized by your school, the sponsors, and businesses affiliated with the program, and more. What’s the downside to that?
  4. Ideas for projects, college degrees, and IT applications in real life. As I said before, everyone at this ceremony has accomplished spectacular things. Some have taught at programming camps, others have done past internships with technological companies, and more. I, myself, have lobbied twice in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives for increased STEM funding in schools across Minnesota. With all of these unique and innovative plans for programs and outreach, you’re bound to walk away with some brand new ideas of your own.
  5. Partnership opportunities. Another big perk to being a part of this community is all the partnership opportunities you’ll discover. The number of amazing professionals involved in the event is a springboard for opportunities, if you’re willing to take them. A lot of these professionals and their respective companies are willing to partner with you to create your own specific program that benefits the community, such as a summer camp for children. AspireIT, a subsection of the AiC program, focuses on just that – allowing AiC winners from previous years the opportunity to make their own summer camp that brings more girls into IT.
  6. Job shadowing. The companies that help sponsor this great program also create other connections available to the winners – job shadowing opportunities. You can see a day in the life of a programmer, network administrator, and more. All you have to do is apply.
  7. Networking with other girls in IT. In this program, every high school girl in attendance is interested in pretty much the same computer/technology topics as you – that’s what got them there in the first place! Just being at the awards ceremony and talking with some of the other girls there is bound to be a good experience. On top of that, you might become great friends with someone you met at the Award for Aspirations in Computing ceremony, or find a partner to help you develop a new tech gadget, and possibly become the next Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak.
  8. Networking with professionals
. So many professionals from various businesses are in attendance, eager to talk and make connections with any and every winner that’s at the event. It’s a perfect place to start making connections for your future career.
  9. Internships. By being selected as a winner or runner-up for one of these awards, you are given the opportunity to apply for up to three different internships offered by several companies. These internships take place over the summer and are a great way to get experience, as well as learn what the real workplace is like.
  10. Inspiration to pursue your dreams. Everyone in this community has done such amazing things – that includes you! Our stories show the different struggles we’ve had to face and no one has had the same experiences. Learn from everyone’s stories, get new ideas, find new avenues to pursue, and face your dreams with a new determination!
 
Aspirations Community: 
National Award

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