Congratulations To This Year’s Intertech Foundation Scholarship Recipient: Kidist Wosenyeieh
After a long and exhaustive review of more than 200 applications for the Intertech Foundation scholarship, I’m delighted to announce this year’s recipient: Kidist Wosenyeieh, a brilliant senior at Roseville Area High School. As with many of the applicants, Kidist is an academically outstanding student, accomplished musician (who has performed with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies for the past four years), exceptional student leader, and active volunteer. But Kidist also impressed the Intertech Foundation with her drive, initiative, and desire to be a role model for other African-American women interested in STEM-based careers.
What else impressed us about Kidist? Here’s one example among many: When her mother was struggling with a Python software coding class at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Kidist wanted to help. So she learned Python on her own with some help from online resources.
Kidist explained in her essay: “On the days that she had projects due, we would stay up all night coding and burst into tears of joy when we fixed the bugs in her code. She ended that class with an A and that motivated me to take my own computer science class. Since my school did not offer AP Computer Science, I took it myself through John Hopkins CTY online. It was intense, but I learned how to structure my code, create algorithms and draft efficient code.”
Something tells me Kidist is going places and that she’s going to get there fast. Read on to learn more this remarkable young woman whom her teachers and mentors call “a stand-out student” and “the best student I’ve had the pleasure to work with in my career.” That second comment was from Bruce Seiber, Ph.D., a former VCU Assistant Professor and retired Honeywell staff engineer.
Below are some comments directly from Kidist, which should renew your faith in the next generation and the ongoing viability of secure technology to spur our economy.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue a computer-related field?
A: I want to be an engineer because it would justify my unconditional love for mathematics. I read and teach myself new techniques because I love the elegant patterns hidden in even the most mundane of mathematical tasks.
Q: Did you have any educational or extracurricular experiences during your k-12 years that helped you decide on computer science?
A: As a participant in the Summer Science Program, I realized just how powerful code can be. For our capstone project, we had to create a program that would calculate and predict the orbit of an asteroid with three sets of observational data using the Gaussian method of orbit determination. It took about 300 lines of code to finish.
Q: Please tell us about your career plans.
A: With a dual degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, I hope to become a cryptographer. I want to help secure Internet systems and national security in this new epoch of quantum computing and cryptocurrency. This field excites me because it combines quantum physics, mathematics and computer science, and it addresses a current problem our society is beginning to face.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share for others, particularly young women, who may be considering a computer science career?
My mother never finished her Computer Science degree, so I hope to finish her dream and become an advocate for diversity in STEM, as a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. There simply aren’t enough black, female, or black female engineers and I want to change that.
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