The 2022 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing National Award Honorees

The 2022 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing National Award Honorees

The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Awards (MNAiC) program is proud to announce the 2022 class of honorees, selected from high schools throughout Minnesota by national and state review teams.

Family, friends, educators, business partners and sponsors are invited to gather to celebrate the award recipients remarkable I.T. achievements at a virtual ceremony on the evening of April 13th.

Watch the 2022 Virtual Ceremony

Honorees are featured in local and statewide media and are eligible for a range of prizes including mentoring / job shadowing experiences, paid summer internships, cash rewards, swag, and trophies.

Honorees also receive access to exclusive resources provided by the National Center of Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).

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Sophie Bingen

Senior at Maple Grove Senior High School

Sophie is a National Honorable Mention recipient. She was a State Winner in 2020. Her passion for programming was ignited in 8th grade when she took a coding class at Macalester College. Since then, she has continued to develop her programming skills through self-study and additional classes at several institutions, learning Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, C++, and Python.

This past summer, Sophie held an internship a Land O Lakes working in their IT department. In 2020, she collaborated to develop a Python curriculum to teach young girls. She dedicates her time after school and on weekends to the high school robotics team, Crimson Robotics. She started her robotics career in programming where she worked with Java, but she later transferred to mechanical. Sophie is a leader in the mechanical department and spends her time collaborating with others to build robots. In her CAD Education work, Sophie developed a curriculum to teach CAD to inexperienced teammates. She also previously mentored a FLL team and worked to organize and attend different robotics community events. Sophie is a FIRST Deans List Finalist.

She has been a Girl Scout for 10 years, has earned the Bronze Award, and enjoys volunteering at Girl Scouts and other community events. Sophie is pursuing mechanical engineering at the UMN next year.


Annika Heieie

Junior at Belgrade Brooten Elrosa High School

Annika is a National Honorable Mention recipient and a State Winner. Annika was a 2021 Rising Star honoree and a 2020 Certificate of Distinction honoree. She began programming robots in elementary school, which sparked her interest in STEM. In high school she began taking more advanced computer science classes as well as engineering classes where she learned Java, Python, C, and SQL. She helps mentor her school’s Girls Who Code Club and is always encouraging the young girls to pursue their interests in STEM. She is a programmer on her school’s robotics team, and on this First Robotics team she is partially in charge of encouraging and helping the team’s inclusion and diversity goals. Annika is a member of Business Professionals of America, where she made it to State three years in a row for SQL database fundamentals as well as Computer Programming Concepts. She also made it to Nationals twice for SQL. She was recognized by Harvard Academies for her academic interests in change and computer science, and took multiple online classes through them as well. Annika will be attending the National Student Leadership Conference for Aerospace Engineering to broaden her knowledge in STEM and try out new areas involving engineering and computer science. She continually looks for new ways to expand her knowledge in STEM, try new experiences, and encourage others who are interested in STEM to pursue their dreams as well.


Grace N

Senior at Math and Science Academy

Grace is a State Winner and National Honorable Mention recipient. She was also a 2021 Honorable Mention recipient. As a founding member and current president of her school’s SWENext Club, she aspires to spark interest and confidence in students pursuing STEM. Grace has helped organize STEM outreach activities with local schools, libraries, and the Science Museum of Minnesota. She has set up, created lesson plans, and taught basic Python and HTML/CSS classes, introducing students to the world of code. Grace is also code lead for her school’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team and has written code in Java and Lua for the robot’s subsystems, autonomous commands, and driving controls.  Additionally, Grace works for an application and web design firm on the transfer of content, customization, and maintenance of websites for non-profit organizations.  She also volunteers as the website administrator for a mental health non-profit organization in the Seattle, WA area and Rutherford County, NC.  Outside of STEM, Grace runs cross country and long-distance track, qualifying for the Minnesota State Championships in both racing seasons.  She looks forward to pursuing electrical engineering in college, focusing on leveraging technology in research and innovation towards a more sustainable future.


Sreeyutha Ratala

Senior at Edina High School

Sreeyutha is a National Honorable Mention recipient and 2020 State Winner. She began programming at a summer Python camp. Since then, she has taken AP Computer Science courses and is currently enrolled in advanced programming classes at a University. She is also a TA for AP Java and a Peer-Tutor. She received a Dean’s List Award for Excellence in AP Computer Science, an Award for Excellence in Community Service, an EHS Student Solutions Equity Project honor, and was designated an Edina Scholar with Distinction. Sreeyutha also created CampVenom, a free youth-led coding camp for children with limited STEM opportunities, through which she empowered 53 campers and 47 volunteers. Due to this success, she received the 2022 Edina Community Foundation’s Connecting with Kids Leadership Award.

Sreeyutha loves developing apps for nonprofits, including applications that help kids learn about the ecosystem and overcome emotional stress. Additionally, she is fascinated by AI due to its potential to solve the world’s largest problems. She received a free nano degree from Udacity for her contributions in designing GitHub tutorials for AI learners. She feels particularly hopeful about AI’s applications in education, and its ability to mitigate the educational opportunity gap.She plans to major in Computer Science so she can eventually create cost-effective personalized support/tutoring systems with AI for underprivileged students. Sreeyutha’s favorite hobbies outside of school include singing Sangeetham, playing badminton, and being part of the Math team. But most of all, she loves spending time with family and doing community service.


Adele Snyder

Junior at Edina High School

Adele is a State Winner and a National Honorable Mention recipient. Her interest in technology started when she participated in her older siblings’ First Robotics teams as the mascot. From there, when she was old enough she joined the First Lego League and eventually was able to join the First Tech League and First Robotics Competition. Starting at a young age she would scavenge the HID scrap bins at her mom’s work to find parts she could sell to fund her robotics team’s expenses. She is now in her 7th year of robotics and is assistant captain of The Green Machine, a nationally recognized FRC FIRST Robotics team. She loves attending outreach events encouraging kids, especially girls, to join robotics and enjoys attending STEM advocacy conferences at the state capital. When she isn’t busy designing and building robots, she participates in Boy Scouts of America, takes math classes as part of the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematical Program (UMTYMP), and takes piano lessons. She is currently helping to design a course on data structures and algorithms for her high school. She loves to travel and was invited to watch the NASA launch of the LUCY Satellite in Florida. On her visits to her grandpa’s house in Lead, SD she often visits the Sanford Underground Research Lab to learn more about their many particle physics experiments.

Meet All of the 2022 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award Honorees