Sustaining Passion,


and Resolve for

Career Success

What is SPARCS?

a youth technology development program for female middle and high school students in Minnesota

SPARCS helps students:

  • increase awareness of information technology (IT) career opportunities

  • explore technology tools, apps, and build tech skills

  • be supported by female IT professionals

  • build relationships with other young women

  • consider and prepare for higher education

  • become aware of special program offerings provided by SPARCS partners


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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.  In some cases, the program serves females in middle school as well.  The activity description typically specifies eligible age/grade levels.

When do activities take place?

The SPARCS program year is generally October through July of the following year.  Events can take place in the evening, Saturdays, and in some cases during the school day.

Some summer camp options are offered.

How is SPARCS activity information delivered?

Activities, classes, competitions and special events offered by SPARCS partners are communicated to SPARCS eligible participants. Students and parents receive notice of the events and are provided a registration link.

What organizations are involved?


The lead organization is Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence.  Financial support is provided by sponsors of the Aspirations in Computing Awards Program, the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and other available resources.

Existing sponsors and partners are: BDPA, Code42, General Mills, Information Systems Security Association, Land O’Lakes, Optum, Prime Therapeutics, Microsoft, Minnesota STEM Partnership, Minnesota Twins,  MnTech–Women Leading in Technology, Securian Financial, SPS Commerce, STEM Fuse,  Stoneridge Software, Target, Three Bridge Solutions, Twin Cities Chapter of the Association of Women in Computing, Thomson Reuters, Unisys, Veritas Technologies



Contact Russell Fraenkel, Director of IT Career Pathways and Partnerships

(651) 253.9438