HELENA – As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), NorthWestern Energy, and Carroll College recognized eighteen Montana high school women from ten high schools for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology. The award event had been scheduled to be held in the Fortin Science Center Scola at Carroll College on Saturday, April 18, and feature four successful Montana IT women from NorthWestern Energy, Northrop Grumman and Google talking about their technology careers. However, Covid-19 has changed the event to be a series of on-line gatherings instead.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to promote 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.

National judges pick the Montana winners.

2020 National Honorable Mention: (Rare honor for a Montana student)

Bailee Sjostrom, senior, Sentinel High School, National Honorable Mention and Montana Winner (2019 and 2018 Montana Winner also)

2020 Montana Winners:

Josie Baggett, senior, Hamilton High School (2019 winner also)

Carrie Carpenter, senior, Billings West High School

Sarah Heller, junior, Capital High School

Elizabeth Hickey, junior, Hobson High School (2019 winner also)

Myah Lee, sophomore, Sentinel High School

Laurel Maronick, sophomore, Helena High School (2019 honorable mention)

Jessi McKinley, senior, Simms High School

Kassadee Olson, freshman, Sidney High School

Alyson Rake, senior, Helena High School (2019 winner also)

Megan Semana, senior, Great Falls High School

2020 Montana Honorable Mention:

Brianna Brost, junior, Sidney High School

Avery Skibicki, junior, Helena High School

Hannah Weedman, senior, Helena High School

2020 National Certificate of Distinction:

Kayla Edgerton, junior, Helena High School

Allyson Hitchcock, senior, Simms High School

Monique Mondragon, freshman, Absarokee High School

Aimee Wilkerson, junior, Helena High School

The 2020 Montana Educator of the Year is Missoula Sentinel’s Daniel Lande.

Carroll College professors Steve Harper and Ted Wendt oversee the Montana contest, which is sponsored by NorthWestern Energy and Carroll College.

NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit coalition of over 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 www.ncwit.org.