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Three Burnsville High School students receive computing awards

Alexis Bunnell received a Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award (MNAiC) for her computing and information technology aptitude, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. A junior at Burnsville High School, she is one of only 19 students to be named a state winner. 

Alexis will be honored at an awards ceremony in April and will be accompanied by Cindy Drahos, Burnsville High School computer science teacher who nominated her for the award. 

As a state winner, Alexis will automatically be entered into the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations Award competition. Additionally, award recipients are eligible for college scholarships, tech devices, cash awards, job shadowing opportunities and a paid summer information technology internship at a Minnesota company or organization. 

Alexis is no stranger to receiving STEM awards.

In the fall, Alexis was named one of just 25 winners of the Target Women in Science and Technology (TWIST) EPIC Awards. The awards recognize and honor high school girls from the Twin Cities for their dedication to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). And, as a sophomore, Alexis earned the Aspirations in Computing Award: Rising Star distinction from the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence and advanced to the state science fair with her project.

“She has the qualities of a true leader in computer science education,” said Drahos. “She has given many hours to advocating the worth of women in computing as well as to STEM activities at the high school. Her strong academic history and commitment to computer science make her a perfect candidate for this award.”

In addition to Alexis receiving the MNAiC award, senior Kaylahna Onenaly and junior Jada Somsanouk, received Rising Star awards. This award goes to students who have attained some technology skills and have demonstrated a commitment to continuing and strengthening their skills and exploration of the field. 

Kaylahna and Jada are two of 37 Minnesota students who have been selected for this honor.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) offers an annual awards program, recognizing young women, genderqueer, and non-binary high school

students for their technology interests, skills and accomplishments. Since 2013, Minnesota has been a state affiliate, allowing high school students in Minnesota the

opportunity to be selected as national and/or state award recipients. This year, nearly 4,700 students from across the nation applied for the award.


Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 09:58