"Bro-grammer" culture gets a lot of air time in movies and TV shows like Silicon Valley. What's missing? Powerful stories that celebrate the women who code - like Rachel, Ria and Rhadika. That’s one of the reasons why the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is encouraging talented girls like Mason High School students Sydney Braine, Ria Datla, Rachel Hunter-Renderle, Nidhi Iyanna, Sydnie Kong, Rhadika Upadhye, Jenny Wan, Emily Wang and Shirley Yang. These nine students recently received the NCWIT’s Award for Aspirations in Computing from the Ohio affiliate. This award recognizes high school young women for their computing-related aspirations as well as leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Wang was also selected as a national runner-up.
Mason High School helps students build their IT aptitude through a range of computer programming courses, including AP Computer Science.
“By the time you get to AP, you start to see the numbers of girls fall off - but it becomes something where you know you can do it and you want to do it,” Braine said. “In first grade, no one is thinking 'only boys like science.' Part of what we have to do is make sure that young girls see lots of role models all along the way," Hunter-Renderle expanded.
"Modeling is so important. My mom is a role model for me, and a lot of us [MHS female students] are involved with the district's Math & Science Night, and clubs like TUSK and Women in Engineering so that younger girls know that they can keep doing what they love," said Wan.
Computer Programming teacher Gregg Kummer is proud of the girls’ achievement and appreciates how the opportunity reflects their hard work. “These awards open a lot of doors for them in terms of internships and long-term opportunities and scholarships. Not only does this promote their learning, it helps others learn about Information Technology, too.”