Mariko Thorbecke, a senior at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, has received the 2012 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.
The award, sponsored by Bank of America and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), recognizes young high school women for their computing-related achievements and interests as part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology.
A total of 35 award-winners were selected from high schools across the country for their outstanding aptitude and interest in information technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. This year’s winners represent 18 states and the territory of Puerto Rico.
Each award-winner will receive:
* $500 cash
* A laptop computer, provided by Bank of America
* A trip, including airfare for nonlocal winners, some meals, and lodging, all provided by Bank of America, for each awardee and one accompanying parent or legal guardian, to attend the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 10 in Charlotte, North Carolina
* An engraved award for both the student and the student’s school
“It’s amazing that young women have these types of opportunities to further their interest in computer science and technology,” said Thorbecke. “It’s a great way to make connections early on with other students who are equally as passionate about this up and coming field.”
Thorbecke has a wide range of abilities and interests within the computer science world. She was an intern at the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, where she worked on a variety of projects, including energy monitoring, creating virtual reality tours, and a brain research project.
She currently is working on completing a virtual reality tour of the school’s Energy Lab, mapping sensors that will be controlled by a virtual reality interface.
Thorbecke also is leading a team that will make two presentations at the January 2012 MacWorld/iWorld Conference in San Francisco.
In addition, Thorbecke is an intern with the W.M. Keck Observatory — which houses some of the largest optical/near-infrared telescopes currently in use around the world — and is creating a virtual tour of the observatory for their telescopes.
Thorbecke would like to attend a university that allows for interdisciplinary majors to pursue computer science and neuroscience.
“Encouraging young women’s interest in technology careers is critical; our workforce needs their creativity and their innovation,” said Lucy Sanders, chief executive officer and co-founder of NCWIT.
Founded in 1949, Hawaii Preparatory Academy is a coeducational, college-preparatory boarding and day school offering a full range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for 606 students in grades K-12 and post-graduate. HPA offers a boarding option for students in grades 6-12 and draws its diverse student body from the Hawaiian Islands, 17 other states and U.S. territories, and 18 other countries.
NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a coalition of more than 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to increase women’s participation in IT. NCWIT’s work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers.
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