Future Women in Technology Honored at Rackspace

The 2017 San Antonio Women in Technology Aspirations in Computing award nominees.

Rackspace, USAA, Texas State University and Jungle Disk joined San Antonio Women in Technology last week to celebrate 27 exceptionally talented young women for their technological achievements for the third annual San Antonio Area Aspirations Award Ceremony.

San Antonio Women in Technology is the local affiliate of Aspirations in Computing, a national group which “provides a long-term community for female technologists, from K-12 through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development,” according to its website.

Each year, they honor young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Award recipients are chosen based on their “aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing; leadership ability; academic history and plans for post-secondary education.”

San Antonio Women in Technology partners with local companies and academic institutions to sponsor the Alamo Area Aspirations Award, which helps fill the talent pool for the growing technical workforce needs in the San Antonio and greater South Texas region. The ceremony was held at the Rackspace Events Center.

The awards also help celebrate and strengthen diversity in computing by honoring young women for their computing-related achievements and interests. This year, the ceremony included a panel of local women in tech discussing “My Career: A Winding Path.”

Claudette Guerro, vice president of Business Development with VentureLab, led the discussion with co-panelists Kim Markgraf, assistant vice president of IT at USAA; Laura McMaster, OpenStack administrator and Kylie Moden, a senior at Trinity University and past Central Texas and National Aspirations winner.

Panelists Laura McMaster, Kylie Moden, Kim Markgraf and moderator Claudette Guerro discussing “My Career: A Winding Path.”

Twelve young women took home awards, including Hailey Ritchie, a senior at Samuel Clemens High School, who received a scholarship from Jungle Disk, a San Antonio-based data security company.

Wrote the Jungle Disk team on its blog, “[We] are excited to see what she accomplishes in her collegiate journey to study computer science and cybersecurity. One day, Haley hopes to be a cybersecurity expert in the National Security Agency (NSA) or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to help track down hackers and cyber threats.”

Hailey Ritchie
Aspirations Award Recipient Haley Ritchie receiving her Jungle Disk scholarship from Grant Herbon, director of marketing at Jungle Disk. She’s cheered on by Dr. Barbara Hewitt, far left, and Dr. Leisa Thompson.

Rackspace offers many thanks to the teachers, families, and mentors and table hosts who make up this incredibly supportive community. A special thank you to the scholarship sponsors and Rackers who rolled up their sleeves to make this event a success: Laura McMaster, Lillie Cameron, Egle Sigler, Lisa Mclin, David Neuman, Kacie Houser, Yasmine Kandissounon and Angela Dean.

Rackspace is excited for these young women’s journey ahead in tech and know they’ll do great things.

If you’d like to learn how you or your company can sponsor a student in the Aspirations in Computing program, please reach out to SAWIT at info@sawomenintech.org.

Lee is a Senior Global HR Transformation Partner, an active member of the Professional Organization of Women’s Empowerment at Rackspace and served as the MC for the Aspirations in Computing Event for 2015 and 2016. Having worked the majority of her professional career in investments and IT, where women are often a minority, she understands and appreciates the impact of Rackspace’s support of women in technology.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you Rackspace for hosting this event and Lee for helping organize the event. The honorees enjoyed the tour Rackspace and speaking with the Rackspace table hosts. Rackspace is a great advocate of the San Antonio Area Aspirations Award Ceremony and San Antonio Women in Technology.

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