2022 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing State Honorable Mention Award Recipients (A-P)

2022 Minnesota Aspirations in Computing State Honorable Mention Award Recipients (A-P)

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 will gather to support and celebrate the award recipients remarkable I.T. achievements at a virtual ceremony the evening of April 13th.

Watch the 2022 Video Ceremony Here

State Honorable Mention Honorees have demonstrated an interest and aptitude for computing.

Honorees are featured in local and statewide media and eligible for a range of prizes including mentoring and job shadow 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).

Interested in Applying For Aspirations Next Year?

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Fatuma Abdi

Junior at Edison Senior High School

Fatuma is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She was Certificate of Distinction recipient in 2020 and a Rising Star in 2021. To her, technology is something that encompasses a large section of her life. It’s something she grew up having a faint understanding of, but is now something she currently works with. Fatuma learned much of what she knows about engineering and programming by taking the initiative to join classes available at her schools and in her community. She’s been a part of math clubs, First Lego League, BDPA, and other groups. Specifically, Fatuma works with coding but wants to get into other areas involved with computer science. She learned how to program through the organization BDPA, and builds off what she’s taught from there to expand her understanding of programming. Fatuma has competed twice in National programming competitions, both of which required her and her team to build fully-functional applications. Fatuma is currently a member of a mobile development team, where she is learning how to design an iOS app and compete against others. She plans to attend university and major in a STEM-related field in the future. Fatuma wants to integrate the medical and technological sectors to help others gain access to healthcare.

Anushka Chaudhari

Senior at Eastview High School in Apple Valley

Anushka is a State Honorable Mention recipient. Her interest in STEM began when she attended the district’s Young Scholars summer camps. This interest encouraged her to participate in Technovation for girls, a global non-profit organization that encourages girls to code and pitch an app. Her team was a regional winner for the app Virtual Vault, designed to keep kids safe on social media. In high school, Anushka founded the Technovation Club. Her team created the app Juno Moneta to increase financial literacy among immigrants and they advanced to global semi-finals. Anushka currently serves as a student ambassador for Technovation[MN] where she runs the social media accounts to recruit more girls. She also serves on the board of IIIL, a Minnesota non-profit that encourages creative and critical thinking skills in school curriculum. Her article related to this cause is published in Variations Magazine. In school, Anushka is on the debate team, a student council officer, a National Honor Society member, chief newspaper editor, and the district’s legislative council member. Anushka is also a mental health advocate and a research intern at William and Mary University where she explores how AP and IB courses have an impact on academic pressure and suicide. She additionally plays the piano and flute, and she practices Tae Kwon Do.  Anushka would love to explore the link between medicine and technology, hoping to research how we can continue to use technology to better the field of medicine and improve people’s lives.

Zoey Chen

Senior at Century High School

Zoey is a State Honorable Mention recipient. In 10th grade, with the urging of a friend, she joined the Technovation challenge and created a language learning app, which advanced to the Global Semi-finals. Wanting to explore tech further, Zoey took AP CSA her junior year, which introduced her to programming languages. She is taking Javascript, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Data Science courses this year. One of her favorite projects has been creating a generative art piece visualizing a philosophical concept, and she’s excited to see what other coding tools she can use to make art. Zoey combines her love for teaching and CS by working as a Teacher’s Assistant for the Art of Sciences Python course and leading a tech club at a local elementary school. As the Operations Chair for Living Room Tutors, a free peer tutoring service, she has been working with software developers to build a platform that streamlines the process of matching tutors and tutees, giving her first-hand experience with the impact technology has on advancing organizational goals. Outside of these tech-related activities, Zoey co-captains her debate and girls’ tennis teams, serves as a coach and secretary of the Rochester Math Club, and teaches acrylic painting classes. In college, Zoey plans to pursue a major or minor in Computer Science, with additional interests in Philosophy, Global Studies, and Education.

Sani Deshmukh

Junior at Eden Prairie High School

Sani is a State Honorable Mention recipient. Her interest in Computer Science started in AP CSP class in freshman year. After that, she took many high school computer science classes including AP CSA, AP Java, Cybersecurity, and IOS development. Sani is involved with the Computer Science Honors Society, National Honor Society, and the Robotics programming team. She is extremely passionate    about Science, especially Astronomy, and is aspiring to become an Aerospace Engineer. Sani is the captain of Eden Prairie’s State Champion Science Olympiad team and is involved in Astronomy, GeoScience, and Wifi building events. Going beyond the classroom for experience, Sani has interned at the University of Minnesota to build a new Transient-Detector Turbo telescope. After self-studying Python, she wrote python scripts to perform photometry on stars and implemented basic machine learning to get telescope images. In addition  to programming, and after attending the Bank of America Girls Who Code competition, Sani became particularly interested in Cybersecurity and participated in multiple Pico-CTF competitions.
She also volunteers at the Minnesota Science Museum as a Science Activity Volunteer    and enjoys explaining scientific concepts to curious little kids. In the competitive world, Sani has participated and won several hackathons, even helped organize the virtual national all-girls GSBHacks hackathon, and has won the district in Congressional App Challenge. In the future, she hopes to find opportunities that connect her passion for Astronomy with her interest in technology.

Ishana Didwania

Sophomore at Mahtomedi High School

Ishana is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She began programming at age 9 and joined her local Girls Who Code program in middle school. Simultaneously, she began a 5-year computer science program at the School of India for Languages and Culture (SILC) and is currently completing her 5th year of the program. Over those five years, Ishana has studied web development with HTML and Javascript, PHP, MySQL and data management, Python, and Java. She enjoys creating projects related to her Indian culture and heritage. She is currently the primary volunteer teacher for the HTML and CSS at SILC, consisting of over 20 students ranging from 10-12 years old, and she has completed over 50 volunteer hours in this role.  Ishana loves sharing her passion for programming with her students and continues to learn while  teaching. She challenges herself with AP courses at school, completing statistics and Spanish courses over the summer. Ishana also works at a senior living home in her town and competes on her school’s math team. Besides programming, math, and science, Ishana  is passionate about flute and music. She plays in her school band and is the current historian in her high school Band Leadership Team. Ishana additionally takes private flute lessons and has been selected via auditions for several collegiate and state-level honor bands. She plans to pursue a degree in computer science while focusing on computational biology and biomedical engineering. Ishana hopes to continue programming while helping others throughout her career.

Clare Dixon

Junior at Eagan High School

Clare is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She was a Certificate of Distinction recipient in 2021. Clare participated in FIRST Lego League robotics until 7th grade when her team switched to FIRST Tech Challenge robotics. She became the lead programmer on her team and works with TensorFlow, EasyOpenCV, and Vuforia. Clare loves to solve problems with code. She helps to make coding simple for the rest of her team.  Clare was also on a successful Technovation team and helped make beta apps for donation, volunteering, and college planning for high school students. Through Technovation, she worked with a team to create multiple Alexa skills to help with keeping track of accomplishments and another to help have a dance party. In addition to robotics and Technovation, Clare also plays rugby, is an active girl scout, and was on a board to help stop the  spread of COVID-19. She combined girl scouts with STEM when her robotics team created multiple curricula to help girl scouts earn badges, get involved, and spark their interest in STEM. Clare plans to continue in STEM by getting a degree in computer science and hopefully  working on robots. She hopes to continue to look for opportunities to grow her skills and learn new things in technology.

Jasmine Garry

Sophomore at Eden Prairie High School

Jasmine is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She prides herself on being a self-motivated social entrepreneur who guides and educates elementary students about the positive impact technology has on our world and how our younger generation can be innovators through STEM disciplines. Jasmine is a creative, technology-minded mentor who founded an online learning organization called CREATE tutoring that offers free tutoring sessions for any K-6 student that wants to expand their knowledge. She is incredibly proud of her 50+ tutors and the 100+ students who teach, learn and are incredibly focused on achieving their educational goals. Running an organization has taught her how to manage digital marketing, increase participation, leverage multiple social media platforms, and engage a community. This past summer, Jasmine was accepted into the Virtual Computer Science High School Intern program at NC State University to build computing-infused lessons for K-12 teachers. She was also awarded a scholarship from the Kode With Klossy Coding and Web Development program. Jasmine wants to pursue a major in Business and CS. She hopes to find meaningful work within the tech industry to help her gain experience while working towards her degrees to help launch her career, business ownership, and ultimately venture into the tech start-up arena.

Maryeva Gonzalez

Junior at St. Paul Academy - Summit

Maryeva is a State Honorable Mention recipient. Her love for technology started as a grade school student and video games. As she grew older she was intrigued by the intersection of art and technology and its ability to engage and challenge players. In middle school, Maryeva started an after-school video game club and actively recruited both male and female students to join. She helped create a space where all students could connect. As she entered high school Maryeva jumped at the opportunity to explore the intricate languages needed to tell digital stories through video games. Often times she was one of only a few BIPOC females in her classes. She continued to push herself and explore the possibilities technology has to offer. Outside of her computer programming classes, Maryeva is actively engaged in her school community. She is Co-Vice President of the Student Council, Co-Leader of Common Ground, Leader of Latinos Unidos, and Vice President of Game Club. Maryeva’s passion is creating spaces for diverse voices to be heard and acknowledged. She is currently enrolled in the highest levels of math and science offered to her at her school. She plans to continue to explore her future in technology and science with a possible college major in bioengineering. Until then, she plans to take advantage of every opportunity she is given to explore topics such as neuroscience and genetics in her senior year of high school.

Reema Ibrahim

Senior at Totino-Grace High School

Reema is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She was a Certificate of Distinction recipient in 2021. Her love for coding began when she started at the E3 (Experimental Engineering Education) Institute at her school. For her senior capstone project, Reema created a college matching algorithm. She learned to code in JavaScript and C++ in her computer science and engineering classes. Reema studies Java in her AP Computer Science class and has completed multiple courses, studying Machine Learning and data structures using Python. She was invited to be a part of the Inspirit AI program, led by MIT and Stanford graduate students, and is now an Ambassador. Reema also participated in the Joy of Coding program with the University of Michigan. She is a control team captain for her school’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team. Reema also created her own Technovation[MN] team, which was a Global Semi-Finalist in 2021. Their app, U Choose, centralizes critical college information and create a means to connect high school students with college representatives.  Her other leadership roles include being a LINK Crew member, captain of her school’s Math Team, and Lead Teaching Assistant at the Kumon Institute of Education in Blaine. Reema is also a member of the National Honor Society and the Kathleen Murphy Scholars Program.  In her free time, she is a violinist in her school’s musical pit orchestra & chamber orchestra. Reema plans on studying computer science and mechanical engineering in college.

Karen Nakamura

Junior at Math and Science Academy

Karen is a State Honorable Mention recipient. From an early age, she had a strong passion in STEM subjects, including computer science. After taking a computer coding class, she enrolled in AP Computer Science. Upon seeing that she was the only girl in the AP course, Karen sought computer science opportunities where she could learn and grow among other girls. She soon joined the Society of Women Engineers Next Club.  Karen’s ability to engage with computing and technology blossomed when she conducted a science project for the 2021 Twin Cities Science Fair. The project combined her two seemingly disparate interests, technology and martial art, into one and opened up a new possibility for computer science that has not been previously explored in depth. She constructed a surface electromyography (EMG) data acquisition system using a Myoware sensor and an Arduino microprocessor to develop a reliable analytical method to measure the electrical activity of muscles used during a karate technique. Currently she is working on a continuation project to test karate participants using her system.  Outside of STEM, Karen is involved with National Honor Society and Link-Crew to serve the community and participates on varsity teams for cross country running and Nordic skiing. She is committed to advancing her skills in the art of Japanese traditional karate as a black belt. In the future, Karen would like to immerse herself in the interdisciplinary field of computing and biology and pursue bioinformatics in college.

Abigail Peters

Junior at Roseville Area High School

Abigail is a State Honorable Mention recipient. Their passion for science and technology first started with excelling in elementary school math classes and was furthered by taking science courses for the first time in middle school. In 8th grade, together with a group of students, Abigail led the creation of an FTC robotics team for the first time at their middle school. They served as the build team captain and managed the engineering notebook. In high school, Abigail’s love for STEM created a push to take challenging AP courses such as calculus, biology, environmental science, and various histories. Outside of class, Abigail was active in their community as the debate captain, a National Honor Society member, and a National History Day participant, making it to Nationals in 2019 and Honorable Mention at State in 2021. Abigail participates in Girls in STEM and has competed in the Minnesota math league. In their free time, they like to research history in order to better understand the way the world works today, especially relating to topics such as climate change and biomedical research. They hope to one day make meaningful contributions to the world in these fields using technology. In the future, Abigail plans to go to college for engineering.

Nitya Potti

Junior at Eden Prairie High School

Nitya is a State Honorable Mention recipient. She was introduced to computer programming during Hour of Code in elementary school. Ever since then she has been intrigued to dive more deeply  into the field. Nitya experimented with block coding on hopscotch and honed her skills to create   more advanced projects over time. Eventually, she moved on from block coding to building web pages using HTML. In high school she continues to pursue her interest in computer programming. After taking the APCSP class offered at her high school, her passion for programming grew. After self-studying Java, she founded the USA Computing Olympics club at her high school where members collaborate to implement Java algorithms for solving advanced problems and compete in online tournaments. She also tutors students in high school and helps them with school subjects pertaining to computer engineering. Outside of STEM, Nitya is part of    her school’s NSDA Speech team, is about to graduate Minnesota’s Music Teachers Association curriculum for piano, loves to dance and is a captain of her school’s tutoring program. Nitya plans to pursue a career in computer science with special interest in the area of artificial intelligence. This fast-growing field is fascinating to her. She is hoping to make a mark of her own in this emerging field.