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BISMARCK, N.D. (MARCH 30, 2021) –  Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley today congratulated Alyssa Traylor for winning the Aspirations in Computing Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) at a virtual ceremony hosted by EduTech, the K-12 educational technology arm of the State of North Dakota Information Technology Department (NDIT). The Aspirations in Computing award is given annually to students who are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing as demonstrated by their computing experience, related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers, and post-secondary education plans.

“It’s an honor to recognize Alyssa and celebrate all of these exceptional students driven to obtain the skills that will empower them to be leaders in the 21st century workplace,” Riley said.

Alyssa Traylor, Sheyenne High School, received the highest points for her application among 30 competitors from North and South Dakota schools.

Natasha Willardson, from Williston High School, also received honorable mention at the ceremony.  

The partnership between EduTech and NCWIT seeks to advance statewide efforts to provide computer science and cybersecurity training and resources to North Dakota’s educators and students. NCWIT recognizes young women who exemplify strong knowledge and skills in Information Technology. These young women have been recognized at a national and regional affiliate level.

“As educators, I believe it is our duty to introduce young women to the possibility of a career in information technology,” said Kirsten Baesler, the state superintendent of public instruction. “These careers offer good pay and the opportunity to do meaningful and collaborative work. They offer job security and creative opportunities, flexible schedules, and a chance to improve the society we live in. Many young women have an aptitude for this field. There’s no reason why they cannot excel at it. But they may not realize this. They may need a little nudge and some encouraging words to consider it.”

Featured Speakers included Baesler, South Dakota Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson, John Kelly from NCWIT, and Dr. Ashley Korzun, Deputy Principal Investigator at the NASA Langley Research Center.

North Dakota’s focus on computer science and cybersecurity education stems from the K-20W Initiative: a statewide, comprehensive approach to help students, and the state, compete in highly competitive, technology-driven industries. Code named “K-20W” to reflect every student from kindergarten through PhD and workforce, the K-20W coalition is comprised of more than 40 public and private sector participants who share a goal of “Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated.”


C O N T A C T :  

Jecca Geffre     |     701-955-0304  


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