Witwer receives national honors in computer science
Witwer receives national honors in computer science

A love of computer science and a lot of hard work has earned senior Sally Witwer the title of "Total Rock Star," bestowed upon her by her computer science teacher. It also earned her state and national recognition from the National Council for Women in Technology. Sally was named a winner in the Indiana competition and a National Honorable Mention in the NCWIT Aspirations for Computing Awards. Her success was celebrated at an awards ceremony January 25 at OneAmerica Headquarters in Indianapolis. She received an engraved plaque for herself and the school, $250, and other gift items. She'll also be connected with Indiana schools offering scholarships in the computer science field. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors high school women who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions.

"She is a total rock star in this world," said Doug Bergman, her Malone School Online Network (MSON) teacher. "Her resume, just in the computer science world alone, puts most high school kids to shame. Very impressive. This award is amazing, and for her to get honorable mention at the national level. Wow! We need younger girls to see her having successes and recognition in this field. Females are so underrepresented in technology."

By the end of her junior year, Sally had worked her way through the computer science courses at Canterbury and was ready for more. For her senior year she enrolled in two more courses through the MSON program. Canterbury is one of 20 schools from across the nation participating in this global classroom setting. First semester she took a class called Interactive Digital Ideas and this semester is studying Interactive Human Movement. Sally enjoys being part of a larger community of students interested in computer science. "I've been able to work with some really talented people, and it's exciting to be able to hear their coding tips and recommendations. For example, Mr. Bergman brought in an expert in game design and for an entire class we talked about how to best learn a programming language and rookie coding mistakes," she explained. "It's definitely fun to branch out and connect with people all over the U.S. who have the same passion as me."

Sally Witwer will graduate from Canterbury with the Advanced Computer Technology Certificate. Her resume includes working as a paid intern for a local web design company, developing web pages for employee use as a sophomore. Junior year, her independent study project focused on the history and applications of neural networks. Her research culminated in a 25-page paper and her own back propagating neural network. Since then, she has worked as an intern for a social media start-up based in New York, finding faults in the security of the company's application and involving herself in social media marketing strategies. This year, she is developing games in her free time.