Female students win the Aspiration in Computing Award

Michael Crater, staff writer

For women involved with computer science, there is a projected growth of 20% participation between 2012 to 2020, according to computerscience.org. Edina High School is contributing to this increase with their AP Computer Science courses. This year, seven female Edina High School students were among the 4,025 students across the United States who received a variant of the Aspiration in Computing Award from the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Senior Annie Snyder, juniors Grace Bowe, Quinn Cowing, Bella Boeckenstedt, Sofie Shand, and Maggie Tian, along with sophomore Sarah Swann are the recipients of the award

“The NCWIT award is for high school girls who are interested in technology. It talks about things that you have done, and things you inspire to do for the world. Things with technology, like coding,” junior Quinn Cowing, who qualified for the second time this year, said. “I was really surprised when I got it because I did it last year as well, and I was surprised I got it again because last year I had only just taken AP computer science. I got a 5 on the test and I was blown away,” Cowing said.

Although she has received the award twice, it was not an easy feat. This year’s recipients had to put in a great amount of work towards their computing skills, and ultimately towards the award. “Computing is like learning a foreign language, so it takes a lot of translation of what you want to say into a computer, but you have to say it differently, so it takes a lot of work to learn,” junior Maggie Tian said.

The awardees have developed their coding skills through a variety of different paths, such as by being on the robotics team, taking computer science classes, or growing up in a family of engineers and scientists. “[I grew up] around STEM. My dad is an engineer, my brother is into science, he’s on the varsity [robotics] team. I’ve always been around STEM, but this year I joined the AP Computer Science class, and I joined a varsity robotics team. I’ve worked to learn code and how to code,” sophomore Sarah Swann said.

However, despite what it took to get here, their time committed to computer science and coding paid off with the meaningful award. “It means a lot to me. I never thought I’d actually get the award, but when I did I was very shocked and I was very happy. It means to me that I can actually code, and I can be a leader in that position, as well as create something new for myself,” Tian said.

The award from the NCWIT acts as inspiration and motivation for many upcoming female coders and STEM students, an area that historically hasn’t had many female participants. “[The award] really means a lot because it shows that they’re promoting girls and girls in STEM, which is really important because there’s not many girls in coding, so I think it’s really important to inspire girls to do more,” Swann said.