Merrill High School students win Wisconsin NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

On March 29, 2022, Merrill High School (MHS) announced two MHS students – Kiana Jahnke and Amber Winter – have received the Wisconsin NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC). The award, powered by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), recognizes students in grades 91-12 as part of an effort to encourage a diverse range of students to choose careers in technology.

Award recipients were selected from more than 3,500 applicants from all 50 US states, Washington, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, US overseas military bases, and Canada for their outstanding aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education.

Each recipient will receive recognition and prizes: induction into the AiC Community of more than 22,000 women, genderqueer, or non-binary technologists; access to resources, scholarships, and internship opportunities; and more.

“Encouraging all students’ interest in technology careers is critical: our workforce needs their creativity and unique perspectives to produce technology that is as broad and innovative as the population it serves,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders.

“We are proud that two of our own students received this prestigious award,” said Oliva Dachel, MHS Computer Science and Business Educator. “Merrill High School continues to offer computing as part of its curriculum, recognizing its value to students’ future success.”

Amber Winter. Submitted photo.

Amber Winter is a Junior at MHS. In her free time, she participates in Merrill swim, track and field, and figure skating. Outside of school, she enjoys going camping, water skiing, hiking, and working out. At school, Amber takes Computer discovery classes, AP CS Principles, Code Cafe, and involves herself with DECA. Amber first discovered her love for technology when her mom introduced it to her in the ninth grade; the following year she took her first class in computer discovery. From there she continued taking more AP computer science classes and joined DECA. Amber hopes to attend a four-year college where she can swim, and wishes to study computer science and STEM.

Kiana Jahnke. Submitted photo.

Kiana Jahnke is a Senior at MHS with a natural talent for art across many mediums, and she is passionate about ways to incorporate her art into coding technology. Programs offered at the high school have given her the opportunity to learn about numerous STEM fields that she can pursue in the future as she moves forward beyond high school. Kiana has dreams of creating video games and apps that allow her to intertwine her artistic and technological passions.

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