Montana to Recognize 16 High School Women for Computing Achievements

Friday, April 6, 2018

HELENA – As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), NorthWestern Energy, and Carroll College will recognize 16 Montana high school women from 13 high schools for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology. The award event will be held in the Fortin Science Center Scola at Carroll College on Saturday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m.and will feature four Montana IT women from NorthWestern Energy, Northrop Grumman and SRI international talking about their technology careers.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to promote the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field, and generate visibility for women’s participation in technology fields. Winners are acknowledged for their outstanding aptitude and interest in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.

National judges pick the Montana winners. This year two Montanans also received NATIONAL HONORABLE MENTION: Payton Zenahlik from Cascade High and Betta Lyon-Delsordo from Big Sky High School in Missoula. It is Betta’s second national Honorable Mention.

The 2018 Montana winners are:

  • Cassidy Duddy, junior, Butte High School
  • Hannah Kempf, junior, Petra Academy
  • Betta Lyon-Delsordo, senior, Big Sky High School (two time National Honorable Mention and three-time Montana Winner)
  • Aurora MacDonald, senior, Simms High School (2017 Montana winner as well)
  • Isabelle Melton, junior, Capital High School
  • Faith Nelson, senior, Bozeman High School
  • Fiona Powers, senior, Capital High School
  • Elizabeth Rigby, senior, Helena High School
  • Ailey Robinson, junior, Hellgate High School
  • Emily Service, senior, Great Falls High School
  • Bailee Sjostrom, sophomore, Sentinel High School
  • Mariah Thompson, senior, Helena High School
  • Bryndon Wilkerson, senior, Helena High School (three-time Montana winner)
  • Nicole Williams, junior, Seeley-Swan High School
  • McKenzie Woodward, senior, Broadwater High School is a Montana Honorable Mention.
  • Payten Zenahlik, senior, Cascade High School (National Honorable Mention and three-time Montana Winner)

The 2018 Montana Honorable Mention Educator of the Year is Absarokee High’s Heidi Gunderson.

Carroll College professors Steve Harper and Ted Wendt oversee the Montana contest, which is sponsored by NorthWestern Energy.

NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit coalition of over 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability by increasing women's participation in IT. NCWIT's work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. Find out more at