Generating SPARCS … Sustaining Passion, Ambition and Resolve for Career Success

SPARCS … a youth technology development program for female high school students in Minnesota


SPARCS is designed to help students:

  • increase awareness and understanding of information technology (IT) career opportunities
  • explore different types of technology tools and applications and build technology skills
  • be supported by women technology professionals
  • build relationships with other young women who have similar and diverse technology interests
  • consider higher education options and prepare for college entrance
  • become aware of special program offerings provided by SPARCS partners including access to potential college scholarships, internships and college job opportunities in the tech field


How to Maximize I.T. Talent Gain and Minimize Talent Loss

Minnesota Women Technologists weigh in on what MN Businesses can do to increase the number of women in tech roles while retaining existing talent.

Microsoft Introduces SPARCS Students to New Innovation Center

Microsoft welcomed over 100 high school aged young women and I.T. professionals to an interactive day of learning and networking at their new Edina, Minnesota innovation lab.

How is SPARCS delivered?

Special events are offered during the school year, typically on Saturday day, and in some cases during the school day. A week-long day-camp is offered during the summer. Students and parents receive notice of the events and are provided a registration link.
Activities, classes, competitions and special events offered by SPARCS partners are communicated to SPARCS eligible participants. SPARCS is a development program associated with the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program. Visit:

Who is SPARCS eligible?

Female students who applied for the Minnesota and National Aspirations in Computing Award are eligible to participate, as are other high school students who have technology interests and aspirations.  The SPARCS program year is generally October through August of the following year.

What organizations are involved?

The lead organization is Advance IT Minnesota, a Center of Excellence within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. Other partners are the Twin Cities Chapter of the Association of Women in Computing, Girls in Tech – Twin Cities, Women Leading in Technology (WLiT) through the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA), and the National Association of Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).

Support for SPARCS is also provided by the 30+ sponsors and partners affiliated with the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Awards Program. 2015-16 program partners have been: Brocade, Code Savvy, General Mills, Macalester College, Metropolitan State University, Microsoft, Salesforce and Unisys.

LIST of SPARCS, STEM Events, 2017-18


Scenes from SPARCS@Mac 2015


Contact Russell Fraenkel, Director of IT Career Pathways and Partnerships, Advance IT Minnesota,, (651) 253.9438.