As technology continues to advance, Diamond Bar High School senior Nicole Chen and sophomore Leslie Sim refuse to be left behind in the dust. Participating in a competition held by the National Center for Women in Information Technology for a scholarship opportunity, these two Brahma Tech students displayed their talents as promising leaders for the future.
The NCWIT is an organization that assembles girls interested in the STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—subjects. The purpose of this program is to reduce the inequality between genders in these areas of studies by encouraging more girls to consider these fields as their future careers.
Though she was solely the state winner in last year’s contest, Chen was chosen as both the state champion for the second time in a row and as a national runner-up this year.
“I didn’t really have [any] reactions, but I am excited about the award ceremony because I got an iPad mini last year,” Chen said.
A couple months ago, Brahma Tech advisor Alina Gallardo informed the Brahma Tech students about a scholarship opportunity called the Aspirations in Computing Award from the NCWIT. This award’s true purpose is to target high school girls for their computing related achievements and interests.
This year out of over 2500 applicants, there were 35 national winners along with 350 runner ups who received this award.
Chen believes that one of the key aspects to her success was the technology itself.
“I think knowing your passion is very important. Once you find it, you’ll be able to go extremely far. I think that’s what contributes to the little bit of success I’ve had with technology in the past few years. I truly enjoy what I do. It gets extremely tiring at times, but at the end of the day, you know you’re doing the right thing and it builds character,” Chen stated.
Unlike Chen, who already had experience with the application process, Sim applied for the first time this year not knowing what to expect.
“I just wanted to be honest in my answers about technology and describe what it meant to me,” Sim said.
For her, technology gave her multiple new opportunities and caused her to recognize the large role it plays in her life.
Though she is only in her second year of high school, Sim is already deeply involved in Brahma Tech along with some of Diamond Bar High School’s clubs: Technology Student Association, Math Club, the Health Occupations Students of America and the National Honor Society. She plans on majoring in a STEM field when she goes to college, but is still open to other options.
“I think I realized the importance of technology in my freshman year, which was when I joined TSA and Brahma Tech. [These organizations] really showed me how technology could be integrated into every part of my daily life as well be a very useful part of a future career. Technology is a part of every career now—whether it’s a medical career, an engineering career, or a liberal arts career, technology can be useful,” Sim said.
Sim was chosen to receive the Affiliate Runner Up award, meaning that she is now officially considered a part of the NCWIT program and is also a runner up for the regional winner.
“I was stoked. To be honest, I completely wasn’t expecting the award when I applied for it. I just expressed what I thought, and I was fortunate enough to receive the award!” Sim stated.
Both students will be attending the NCWIT conference in the spring to be recognized and awarded for their outstanding achievements.
They will be offered opportunities such as scholarships, internships, and research experiences that will allow them to discover new pathways to their success.