Katja is a junior at Cherry Creek High School. She is ecstatic to have received the NCWIT National Honorable Mention this year, as well as the Colorado Regional Affiliate Winner Award. Growing up, she was always interested in engineering, and she took a very hands-on approach to the many science projects she engaged in. Her first step in computer science started when she took AP Computer Science last year, where she received a 5 on the AP test. She progressed her Java skills with the Data Structures and Algorithms course she took first semester of this year, and is thrilled to be learning Swift, her second programming language, for her iOS Applications class this semester. She joined the FIRST Robotics team at her school as a freshman, initially drawn to the electrical subteam, but was soon pulled into various leadership roles. She was entrusted to fill in for the current team captain at the first regional competition of the season, experiencing a new profound love for spreading STEM to the members of her team and for organizing such a meaningful cause. That year, her team won the Denver regional, going on to St. Louis to participate in the World Championship. As a sophomore, she became team captain of the 50-member robotics team; she organized a volunteering program with her outreach team for tech support at a retirement home, presented at various community events about the importance of STEM, and coordinated an Open House to educate her school, mentors, and sponsors about robotics. For her hard work and impact on STEM in the community, she was nominated by her team for the FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award, where she became a semi-finalist. During her sophomore year, she also received a local Honorable Mention for NCWIT. As a junior, Katja started off the year by joining her school’s Cyber Security club, where she has competed at several CyberPatriot competitions. She was also overjoyed to have been offered a programming internship, which she started in the summer of 2017. There, she focuses on applying software engineering to help insurance employees in their day-to-day operations of the business. Katja’s primary projects focus on structuring and storing data in databases like MySQL, where she uses SQL to filter and retrieve relevant pieces of data. She also parses and converts CSV data into human-readable format, translates the data between disparate computer systems, and works with Customer Relationship Management systems (e.g. Salesforce), to both secure the data of clients and increase employee efficiency. She also takes immense joy in finding ways to use technology outside of typical STEM fields. This year, she created a website for her school’s National Chinese Honor Society, a club that she has been part of since freshman year. It serves as a Chinese tutoring platform and a means to spread Chinese culture throughout her school and community. She organizes its interface, creates blog posts in Chinese, and adds resources for other Chinese learners. She plans on attending college and majoring in Computer Engineering, as well as minoring in Chinese Language. In her free time, Katja likes to play piano and viola, travel, and study Chinese. During the summer of 2017, she traveled to Guilin, China to study Chinese language and culture for a month.