IGH student named Aspiration Award runner-up

Sumayo Saed

Sumayo Saed, a senior at STEP Academy Charter School in Inver Grove Heights, was named a 2016 state runner-up in the fourth annual Minnesota Aspirations for Women in Computing awards.

“It means a lot to me and my teachers and parents. I’ve worked hard throughout high school and seeing it pay off means a lot,” Saed says. 

Besides being a senior at STEP, Saed is also is a student at Minneapolis Community Technical College. She is a Genesys Works intern for Mortenson Construction, where she handles desktop imaging and deployments for the client devices team in the IT department. 

Saed didn’t know much about the IT field before meeting IT professionals during her internship. 

Russell Fraenkel, director of IT Career Pathways and Partnerships for Advance IT Minnesota, says Saed was selected as a runner-up because she is pursuing her technology interests, helping the community and her family. She also loves to learn new things. 

“The field of technology will always be rapidly changing and needs people like Sumayo who embrace change to keep a company or organization on the leading-edge,” Fraenkel says.

Fraenkel says the award was started by the National Center for Women and Information Technology to “shine a spotlight on young female technology talent, recognizing them for their technology aspirations, interests and early achievements.

Fraenkel says it’s a way “to illuminate the women in computing movement, both nationally and locally, as the surest way to close the IT opportunity, skills and talent gap” 

Saed was one of 15 runner-ups and there were 15 finalists. Applicants answered questions related to their technical experience with different technology applications, languages and tools.

They also spoke about their involvement in school and experiences in community-based technology, as well as overall community involvement. 

Fraenkel and Saed both acknowledge the importance of bringing attention to women in computing/IT fields. Saed says girls should get involved because the IT field is male dominated, and she feels girls can prosper in it. 

According to NCWIT, women held only 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the U.S workforce in 2014. That same year, women held only 6 percent of corporate chief information officer positions. 

“Young girls and women need opportunities to become technology creators and to build their competence and confidence that they belong and can become a technologist and it isn’t just a field available to boys/men,” Fraenkel says. 

While Saed has not made a final decision about what she will be doing in the fall, she has narrowed it down to attending Augsburg College or the University of Minnesota to study computer science. 

“My main goal and aspiration for the future is to become a person who assists others and continues to change for the better,” Saed said in a press release. “I want to prosper and help my family, especially my mom -- she is my hero. Seeing her continuously work hard so I can have a better future has always captivated me.”


Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com.

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