A 2020 honorable mention from Sidney is a 2021 winner. Brianna Brost, a senior at Sidney High School has been chosen to receive the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

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 recognized 17 Montana high school women from 11 high schools for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology. Avery Skibicki of Helena High School was also awarded a National Honorable Mention, which is a rare achievement for a Montana student.

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 score all the Montana applicants.

Along with Brost, other winners from Montana include Aspen Derry, junior, Seeley-Swan High School; Sarah Heller, senior, Capital High School (2020 winner); Baylee Herman, sophomore, Simms High School; Myah Lee, junior, Sentinel High School (2020 winner); Laurel Maronick, junior, Helena High School (2020 winner and 2019 Montana honorable mention); Sierrah Paul, junior, Helena High School; Katherine Sanders, sophomore, Billings Senior High School; Brynja Severtson, senior, Helena High School; Aimee Wilkerson, senior and Helena High School (2020 national certificate of distinction).

2021 National Honorable Mention include Avery Skibicki, senior, Helena High School (2020 Montana honorable mention); Taya Dyer, senior, Conrad High School; Tori Lapierre, junior, CM Russell High School; Makenzi Lauver, freshman, CM Russell High School; Monique Mondragon, sophomore, Absarokee High School (2020 national certificate of distinction); Anna Ries-Roncalli, junior, Helena High School and Melanie Woodward, senior, Broadwater High School.

The 2020-21 Montana Educator of the Year is Absarokee High School’s Heidi Gunderson.

Carroll College professors Steve Harper and Dr. 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

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