Aspirations Award Applications OPEN!
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) sponsors the annual Aspirations in Computing Award competition for high school women involved in and/or interested in technology and computing. You do not necessarily have to have achievements in technology to apply, you just have to have the passion - hence the “aspirations” name! Applications open on September 18. Here’s some more information:
There are two levels of competition; local and national. All 50 states (and Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands) have competitions, and you may use the same application for both local and national awards. National Award-winnersreceive $500 in cash, a laptop computer (provided by Bank of America), a trip to attend the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony in Charlotte, NC in March 2014, and an engraved crystal award for both the student and the student’s school. Local affiliate award winners receive an engraved award for their home and school, and a range of great prizes from local sponsors.
Last year, I applied for this award and won at the local affiliate level. Take it from me when I say that the real benefit of this award isn’t nearly so much the prizes, but rather the connections and opportunities that you’ll get as a winner, runner-up, or even just as an applicant—they’re incredible! NCWIT has an extraordinarily active Facebook group where opportunities (scholarships, other competitions, internships, jobs, further education etc) are posted constantly. Companies (here’s a full list of supporters—there are several different “alliances” that you can scroll through) have - and continue to - recruit from the Aspirations group. The community of women and mentors you’ll meet is absolutely spectacular. The bottom line: this award changes lives!
If you’re a high school girl and interested in and/or already active in…
- Interactive Multimedia (Web design/development, film & photo & music editing etc, computer aided design, game design, mobile application development, web application development)
- General Computer Applications (Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, desktop publishing, mathematical applications)
- Hardware/Networking/Systems Operations (Computer technology, Network/System Operations & maintenance, network design/development, network security)
- Programming (Robotics, graphic programming, ina coding languages, using variables/loops/decision logic/arrays & lists, using advanced data structures such as stacks/queues/trees, mainframe programming, database design/programming, open source contributions)
Don’t see your area of technology interest on the list? When in doubt… apply anyways!
Here’s some information on preparing your application. It includes general information and the essay questions that you’ll need to answer in your application. I’d recommend starting to prepare your application soon so that you can make it as strong as possible - I’m also here to help you do that. Please don’t hesitate to send me asks or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a previous winner, I’m more than willing to read through your application, edit, give advice, and more… trust me, applying for this award is very worth your time and effort.
The application deadline is October 31.
Some advice from another award recipient and the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NCWIT;
- Even if your extracurriculars and hobbies don’t show your potential in computing and IT, APPLY! That’s what I did even though I didn’t have much experience in programming or anything (I only started getting into it all senior year of high school - 2011 to 2012), but my CS teacher told me to apply anyway. I’m glad I followed her advice because I don’t think I would be as inspired to pursue CS any further if it wasn’t for that.
- Brag a bit, really show your passion/interest, and be careful about spelling and grammar. These applications are read/judged by faculty and tech professionals, so it is important to understand that the audience is used to professional, business communications. Treat this like any other interaction with a professional adult.