On March 29, 2022, Merrill High School (MHS) announced that two MHS students – Kiana Jahnke and Amber Winter – had 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 wide range of students to choose careers in technology .
Recipients were selected from more than 3,500 applicants from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. military bases overseas, and Canada for their exceptional abilities and aspirations. in technology and computing, as evidenced by their computer experience, computer-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 essential: our workforce needs their creativity and unique perspectives to produce technology 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 have received this prestigious award,” said Oliva Dachel, IT and business educator at MHS. “Merrill High School continues to offer computer science as part of its curriculum, recognizing its value to future student success.”
Amber Winter is a junior at MHS. In her spare time, she participates in Merrill swimming, athletics and figure skating. Outside of school, she enjoys camping, water skiing, hiking and working out. At school, Amber takes classes in Computer Discovery, AP CS Principles, Code Cafe, and gets involved with DECA. Amber discovered her love for technology when her mother introduced it to her in ninth grade; the following year, she took her first computer discovery course. From there, she went on to take other AP computer science courses and joined DECA. Amber hopes to attend a four-year college where she can swim and wants to study computer science and STEM.
Kiana Jahnke is a senior at MHS with a natural talent for art in many mediums, and she is passionate about ways to integrate her art into coding technology. The programs offered in high school gave her the opportunity to learn more about many STEM fields that she can pursue in the future as she progresses beyond high school. Kiana dreams of creating video games and applications that allow her to intertwine her artistic and technological passions.