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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Maureen Biggers
School of Informatics and Computing

Last modified: Wednesday, December 8, 2010

IU-led computing coalition, national group recognize 20 young Indiana women for IT interests

Dec. 8, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and a consortium of 10 Indiana universities and 15 Indiana corporate sponsors are recognizing 20 high school women from around Indiana for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology.


The young women have been named winners of the INDIANA-NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes high school women for their computing-related achievements and interests. The winners were selected by NCWIT and Indiana STARS, a new, multi-purposed computing coalition led by Indiana University and made up of university, industry, K-12 and community partners.

"With technology jobs projected to grow faster than all other job sectors in the next decade, it's imperative that we nurture the computing aspirations of women, who will make up half the professional workforce," said Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder of NCWIT. "This award allows us to recognize and encourage talent that might otherwise be overlooked."

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to encourage the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field, and generate visibility for women's participation in technology fields. Winners are acknowledged for their outstanding aptitude and interest in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.

The winners will be recognized during an awards celebration to be held Jan. 19 at the OneAmerica corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. Each winner will receive $250, an e-notebook, scholarship offers from several computing departments throughout the state of Indiana, an engraved plaque and another for the winner's respective school, a T-shirt and a gift bag.

"Indiana STARS is promoting ways computing is collaborative, makes a difference for people, is creative and can combine interests with just about any other academic interest area," said Maureen Biggers, assistant dean for diversity and education at the IU School of Informatics and Computing. "Organizing the Indiana Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing is a first step toward increasing awareness of these opportunities."

Biggers said the new state coalition will focus on a collaborative promotion of computing-related majors and career opportunities and a broadening of participation of underrepresented Indiana talent (women and minorities) who know computing and IT.

The 20 young women selected as winners of the INDIANA-NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing were selected from more than 100 applications, and the winners hail from 17 different high schools across the state. An additional 22 students were named semi-finalists and will receive a certificate and a T-shirt.

The 2010 winners from Indiana of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing are: Nupur Bhatt of Park Tudor School, Fishers; Susanna Bowen of Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and the Humanities in Muncie; Rebecca Chen, Park Tudor School, Carmel; Geralyn Dierfeldt, New Albany Senior High School, New Albany; Amy Faust, Mount Vernon High School, McCordsville; Jasmine Freeman, Northrop High School, Fort Wayne; Kristin Haehl, West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School, West Lafayette; Katherine Hedges, Eastern Junior and Senior High School, Greentown; Victoria Humphreys, Penn High School, Granger; Brittany Kaiser, New Albany Senior High School, New Albany; Megan Kirkbride, Penn High School, Mishawaka; Holly Markovich, Munster High School, Munster; Sarah Parker, Crown Point High School, Cedar Lake; Emily Peed, Ben Davis University High School, Indianapolis; Samantha Quinn, Thomas Carr Howe Academy, Indianapolis; Trisha Shanahan, Lake Central High School, Schererville; Krystal Stutts, Pike High School, Indianapolis; Lindsey Watterson, Southwestern Middle/Senior High School, Lexington; Victoria Weisenberger, Delta High School, Muncie; and Ella Wildemann, Columbus North High School, Columbus.

The Indiana Affiliate Awards were made possible by the following organizations: Indiana STARS coalition university members (Indiana University Bloomington, IU Southeast, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Notre Dame, Butler University, DePauw University, Rose-Hulman, Harrison College, IPFW, and Purdue) and the following corporate sponsors: Barnes and Thornburg, OneAmerica Financial Partners, ChalkLabs, Liberty Mutual, Microsoft, Women & Hi Tech, Society for Information Management, Bluefish Wireless, Pointbridge, Communications Products Inc., John Deere, BlackBaud Indianapolis Fund, Honda Manufacturing, CNO Financial Group, Vera Bradley and BellTech Logics. Private donors include Dennis and Melanie Groth.

Biggers and Dennis Groth, associate dean at the IU School of Informatics and Computing, are co-investigators on the National Science Foundation planning grant for Indiana STARS, and Biggers is also co-chair of the Academic Alliance for the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

This announcement coincides with the Dec. 5-11 Computer Science Education Week, which has been endorsed by Congress to recognize the critical role of computing in today's society and the imperative to bolster computer science education at all levels. For resources, ideas, events suggested for students, teachers, parents, administrators and counselors, universities and corporations, see:


NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit coalition of more than 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability by increasing women's participation in IT. NCWIT's work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. Find out more at

To learn more about NCWIT, Indiana STARS, the awards or the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC), please contact Maureen Biggers at SOIC, 812-856-0739 or, or Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or