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Slide showing the photos of each student who won an Aspirations in Computing regional award

Regional results are now in, and Emma’s computer science students continue to be honored through the Hudson Valley affiliate of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Eleven Emma students entered the Aspirations in Computing awards competition, and each of them won an award! In addition, Computer Science Instructor Chiara Shah was honored with the Hudson Valley Regional Educator Award. 

Subsequent to the announcement of the national recognition received by Jill C. ’23, Sol H. ’24, and Teresa Z. ’23 (see details below), regional awards from NCWIT were announced. Jill, Sol, and Teresa also received regional awards, as did eight additional Emma students: Manasa B. ’23, Evangeline W. ’23, Meli N. ’23, Pitta T. ’23, Ashlyn B. ’24, Cynthia Z. ’24, Narmene O. ’24, and Vernette B. ’24. Award recipients were selected from more than 3,300 applicants from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. 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.

Ms. Shah was selected from more than 140 applicants from 43 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada. The AiC Educator Award identifies exemplary formal and informal educators who play a pivotal role in encouraging 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, or non-binary students to explore their interest in computing and technology. The award recognizes these educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing. Congratulations to Ms. Shah on her incredible work with our computer science students! You can read more about Ms. Shah’s background on the Aspirations award site.
Revised 2/24/2023

“The computer science interests and skills of Emma students just keep getting more impressive,” declares Computer Science and Mathematics Instructor Chiara Shah. We are excited to announce that three students from Emma Willard School—Jill C. ’23, Sol H. ’24, and Teresa Z. ’23—have received National Honorable Mention awards from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

The NCWIT National Aspirations in Computing Awards are given annually to recognize students’ aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience and activities, leadership, tenacity, and future plans. This year, Emma students Jill C. ’23, Sol H. ’24, and Teresa Z. ’23 have been honored for their accomplishments. They were among 400 students selected from more than 3,300 amazing, talented young applicants, and this is the first year we’ve had three students recognized.
Jill C. ’23

Reflecting on Jill’s work in Advanced Studies Computer Science Principles, Ms. Shah recalls Jill correctly predicting that computers of the future would have more types of “authorization and authentication” than we have today. “She’s the first student I’ve had in several years who focused on that evolving and important aspect of computing,” Ms. Shah shares. “More often than not, Jill is the one who raises her hand during lessons to offer her thoughts and solutions.”


Today Jill continues to work on the Signature project that she began last year: coding a video game that aims to raise awareness of mental health issues. “I’m working with my classmate Angel W. ’23, who’s doing all the art for the game,” Jill explains. “The game will represent what it is like to live with depression—you will have to outwit various monsters through dodging attacks and clever strategy…it's been a great exercise in coding for me especially since I'm planning to pursue game design as a career.”





Sol H. ’24

Sol has taken two CS courses—CS Principles and CS A (Java). In their ninth grade year, Sol competed in the Bebras Computing Challenge and earned the highest score in the state of New York in the cadet division (ages 12-14). They are a part of CREATE, which is three clubs under one umbrella—Coding, Robotics, Engineering AT Emma. Sol is a member of all three clubs. This past summer, they spent a few weeks at a summer program building and coding VEX IQ robots. 


“Sol is an introspective student whose coding skills are advanced,” Ms. Shah shares. “I have been extremely impressed by their nested loop project, which was more sophisticated than I would expect, using functions with multiple parameters and complicated logic statements."



Currently, Sol is learning Java and building a SeaPerch aquatic robot with a partner in CREATE.



Teresa Z. ’23


“Teresa has a love of learning math that was readily apparent,” Ms. Shah says of her first experience teaching Teresa during her ninth grade year. “She also had so many ideas and plans for using technology, many of which she has now completed! In class, she is quick to answer questions, and when working with partners on collaborative coding, she listens carefully to suggestions and lets her partner have a voice in their work, even though she could easily solve the problem independently.”


Teresa took self-study courses in coding over the summer in order to enroll in the intermediate Computer Science course at Emma this year. She also interned with Boston University Professor Goyal's Signal Transformation and Information Representation Group through the BU Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) Internship program. “Through Matlab programming and simulations, I studied the impact of various scene parameters on surface normal estimations in single-photon LiDAR point clouds,” Teresa explains.



Join us in congratulating Jill, Sol, and Teresa on their great accomplishments! We look forward to seeing how you will use your expertise to serve and shape our world.


Chiara Shah pictured with an Enigma Machine

Computer Science and Mathematics Instructor Chiara Shah (pictured earlier this year with the Enigma Machine at the Grace Hopper Celebration) was selected for the NCWIT Hudson Valley's Educator Award

slide showing three students who won national awards

NCWIT National Aspirations in Computing Honorable Mentions: Jill C. ’23, Sol H. ’24, and Teresa Z. ’23


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