Celebrating 2021 MNAiC Interns and Business Partners

Celebrating 2021 MNAiC Interns and Business Partners

The grand-prize for many Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) top-tier honorees is a summer paid internship provided by program sponsors.

This marks the ninth summer where Minnesota’s high school students who identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary were given the opportunity to jumpstart their professional careers, while earning a significant amount of money to help pay for family expenses.

It’s clear that the benefit to students ranges from learning new technologies, sharpening existing technical skills, as well as developing professional skills such as teamwork in a business setting, research, problem solving, as well as written, oral, and interpersonal communication.  Exploring and beginning to master these professional skills inspires confidence, and builds competence.


Examples of intern feedback regarding specific technical and professional skills that were acquired during internships provides evidence of the acquisition of essential career readiness skills.

“Conducting stakeholder interviews, presentations skills in a more formal setting, speaking to higher level managers and leaders.”

“Excel, network fundamentals, cybersecurity. It helped me become a more confident individual.”

I learned Spark, HDFS, and SQL and improved my Python. I also learned a lot about agile practices and the general workflow around coding projects. I feel like I became more comfortable presenting technical projects as well.”


Here is a few of the responses’ interns provided to the following question:

In what ways did the internship experience influence your thinking about your technology

education and career plans?

“It helped me confirm that I’m interested in a role that combines analytics and technical skills rather than just one or the other, but also confirmed my interest in the field of technology.”

“It made me want to explore the depths of technology as I continue in college because there are so many interesting tools that far exceed what I had originally thought existed.”

It was an amazing opportunity to meet really interesting, driven people, both fellow interns and full-time employees. I think I really gained from experiencing a productive, positive company environment as well. When I lead projects in the future I will incorporate some of my manager’s practices.”



Interested in Becoming a 2022 MNAiC Honoree and Paid Intern?

Now through November 5 applications are being accepted from high school students with aspirations in computing.

To Learn More, Click Here

Hats off to General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Optum, Prime Therapeutics, Securian, and SPS Commerce for offering 16 remote internships for this year’s remarkable talent pool.


Employers report that their participation in the MNAiC internship program affords them the opportunity to access unparalleled technological talent that exists in many high school students that were vetted by national and state award selection committees.  This year 40 students were selected as top-tier honorees, of which 25 expressed an interest in experiencing a paid summer internship.

Unfortunately, due to COVID related restrictions, top IT talent interest in a summer internship far exceeded the program’s ability to match with willing and remote-ready employment opportunities.

Visit this site to appreciate the remarkable levels of technical talent that exists in communities throughout Minnesota.



Here’s the perception of a few company representatives regarding the value of utilizing MNAiC interns.

“It was fantastic to host MNAiC interns this summer at General Mills. This was our first-time hosting and we were blown away by the caliber of talent and professionalism. Not only were the MNAiC interns able to deliver high-impact work in a short amount of time, but they demonstrated curiosity and a learning mindset – key attributes we value in our organization.”


“At Land O’Lakes, the MNAiC interns are placed on real-world projects and complete defined deliverables. Along with executing project deliverables, the benefits of working with the interns include gaining their fresh perspectives, making connections with them early in their career, and building their interest in technology.”


“Supporting the Aspirations in Computing program is a real privilege for SPS Commerce. The student interns provide fresh energy and perspectives that invigorate the whole team. Their technical skills are impressive and they make significant contributions to their projects. We are excited to stay connected with these aspiring technologists and watch them grow!”


2021 Interns:

  • Sophie Bingen, Maple Grove Senior High School
  • Maggie Cai, Mounds View High School
  • Belise Dinsa, Central High School, St. Paul
  • Anjali Donthi, Century High School, Rochester
  • Audrey Douglas, Annandale High School
  • Karina Dovgodko, Math and Science Academy, Woodbury
  • Akansha Kamineni, Eastview High School, Apple Valley
  • Devna Panda, Eden Prairie High School


  • Caroline Pirtle, Breck School, Golden Valley
  • Lexie Rauer, Roseville Area High School
  • Cecilia Schmitz, Hutchinson High School
  • Esha Sekar, Lakeville North High School
  • Claire Stellmack, Mounds View High School
  • Alayna Tan, Math and Science Academy, Woodbury
  • Ezigbo Ugochukwu, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
  • Samiksha Vijay, Wayzata High School

The summer 2021 program concluded with a celebratory virtual event attended by the interns, numerous company representatives, and IT Center staff who played a significant role in their internship success. The interns presented their summer role, their contributions to the teams they were part of, and their key take-aways.

Impressive…..To The End!

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