DETROIT — Eighteen high school girls took home $2,775 in combined prizes in the Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s ninth annual girls’ website design competition, held Dec. 6 at Blue Care Network’s auditorium in Southfield, the culmination of a two-month-long program.
During the event, finalists (pictured above) demonstrated their websites to a panel of IT executives who volunteered their time as judges, evaluating each presentation and the sites’ clarity, functionality, graphic appeal, user-friendly navigation and innovation.
The competition is one of the MCWT’s initiatives aimed at encouraging, advancing and retaining women in Michigan’s IT community. This year 103 teams, comprised of 144 young women from 30 Michigan high schools, enrolled in the contest’s two divisions, beginners and advanced. Contestants could enter individually or with one other team member.
“I would like to thank MCWT for helping me realize my true potential,” said Shreya Mullapudi, a sophomore at Farmington High School and a finalist in the beginner category. “A year ago, I had no idea that code even existed behind websites and now I taught myself to create a website purely from HTML and CSS stylesheets.”
Ten girls won or received recognition in the advanced category:
• First place, $750 and a summer internship at Comerica Bank: Christina Li, Utica Center for Math, Science and Technology
• Second place, $500: Jessica Old and Caitlin Beirne, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore High School
• Third place:, $300: Keyaria Walker, St. Clair Shores Lakeview High School
Honorable mention winners, each receiving $75, were Jackie Kwapisz and Brooke Glass, Lake Shore High School; Likitha Nimmagadda and Rafia Haq, Farmington Harrison High School; and Gabrielle Loprieato and Megan Kovalcik, Lake Shore High School.
Eight girls won or received recognition in the beginner category:
• First place, $400, Catherine Makohn, Lakeview High School
• Second place, $250: Kara Roelofson, Lake Shore High School
• Third place, $200: Hailey Krause and Divine Mathes, Lake Shore High School
Honorable mention winners, each receiving $50, were Shreya Mullapudi, Farmington Hhigh School; Leah VanLandingham, New Boston Huron High School; and Payton Beigler and Rachel Felder, Lake Shore High School.
Catherine Makohn, sophomore at Lakeview High School, said she had a great time learning about code and called the MCWT competition “an amazing experience.”
The finalists’ websites can be viewed at http://www.mcwtwebdesign4girls.net/
Serving as volunteer judges were Charlotte Decker, CIO/CTO, UAW Benefits Trust; James Schmidt, vice president and COO, ANX; Linda Monteith, vice president, Comerica; Linda Mitchell, global automotive sales executive, Microsoft; Mark Parker, owner, DigiStudioz; Gloria Schneider, director, program delivery, Blue Care Network; and Rebecca J. Bray, vice president of sales and delivery, EPITEC.
“To become the No. 1 state for women in technology, we must provide girls with more opportunities to experience the creative, collaborative and interactive nature of IT,” said Charlotte Decker, vice president of MCWT program development. “We consistently hear feedback from our website design competition participants that they had never considered studying technology before, but now want to pursue a career in computer science.”
Since 2005, the MCWT website design competition has drawn 705 participants and awarded more than $20,000 in cash prizes. The organization offers an optional free training session on topics such as usability, design and coding.
More about the MCWT and the MCWT Foundation at www.mcwt.org and www.mcwtblog.org.