Announcing 2020 National Aspirations in Computing Award Honorees from Minnesota

Announcing 2020 National Aspirations in Computing Award Honorees from Minnesota

The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program (MNAiC) is delighted to announce that ten young women from Minnesota High Schools have been selected as national honorable mention recipients by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).  Three hundred and sixty students, from an applicant pool of nearly 4,700 were selected for this exclusive honor.  The 10 selected Minnesota students fall within the top 8% of nationwide applicants.

According to NCWIT, “Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education.”


The list of recipients includes these highly impressive young women from Minnesota:

Hawiya Ali                       Junior at South High School, Minneapolis 

Audrey Douglas             Junior at Annandale High School

Mary Ghebremeskal      Sophomore at South High School, Minneapolis

Kate Harris                     Sophomore at DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis

Claire Jensen                 Senior at South High School, Minneapolis 

Abigail Kunkle               Junior at Roseville Area High School

Katie Liu                         Senior at Wayzata High School, Plymouth

Aliyah Sahal                   Sophomore at Blaine High School 

Meg Sebastian               Junior at Convent of the Visitation School, Mendota Heights

Sahana Vandayar          Senior at Maple Grove Senior High School

Prizes and rewards include media recognition, banquet ceremony, job shadow experiences, cash, access to internship opportunities offered by MNAiC sponsors, NCWIT and MNAiC swag, and more.  Honorees will be recognized at the 8th Annual Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award Ceremony on April 15, 2020.

MNAiC sponsors/partners include Minneapolis Community, BDPA, Best Buy, Code42, Digital, Cray/Hewlett Packard, General Mills, Help/Systems, Information Systems Security Association, Land O’Lakes, Legacy Armour, Merrill Corporation, Microsoft, Minnesota Computers for Schools, Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence, Minnesota STEM Partnership, Minnesota Twins, Nerdery, Prime Therapeutics, Securian, SPS Commerce, STEM Fuse, Stoneridge Software, Target, Twin Cities Chapter of Women in Computing, Thomson Reuters, ThreeBridge, Trimble, Upper Midwest Security Alliance, Unisys, Veritas Technologies, Women Leading in Technology/Minnesota High Tech Association.  


The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program seeks to inspire, engage, and empower young women in grades 9-12 to pursue technology education and career paths. Each year, more than 100 young women are recognized statewide and/or nationally for their computing and technology accomplishments. Participants also gain in-demand technology skills through SPARCS (Sustaining Passion, Ambition, and Resolve for Career Success) events and engage with Minnesota companies through job shadow experiences and summer paid internships.


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 1,100 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase girls’ and women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. To find out more, visit


The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (also known as ITCoE) takes pride in educating and empowering future generations of IT professionals by working with high school and college educators, students, and staff as well as industry leaders to provide opportunities for personal and professional development, innovation project funding, curriculum development, tools, and program support.