A student from the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing battles a stereotype that has existed in the computing field for years.
The National Center for Women and Information Technology recognized second-year student Dominieke Neasham as one of the top-15 female high school students in Missouri and Kansas interested in the field of computing.
Neasham won the 2012-2013 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award for Missouri and Kansas. Neasham said she suspects her internship with Cerner Corporation in Kansas City this summer put her at the top as a qualifying candidate.
In addition to Neasham, second-year Academy student Ashley Huskey was one of the 15 runner-ups for the NCWIT Award.
NCWIT works to reduce the gender bias in the computing field.
Many colleges have much lower female enrollment rates than male in computer science programs, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“There’s definitely way more men,” Neasham said. “Most men I’ve talked to are shocked that I’m in the computer science field.”
Carol Spradling, associate professor in computer science, said Neasham exhibits characteristics that would cause her success in the field of computing.
“She’s very motivated,” Spradling said. “The fact that you have to learn to have a lot of confidence in yourself is very important if you are a minority in a group. She already seems to have a lot of confidence, and she knows what she wants.”
Neasham said what she enjoys most about computing is problem solving.
“I like figuring out code, or reading code to try to test it,” Neasham said. “It’s like solving some sort of puzzle, a number puzzle.”
Neasham plans to remain at Northwest and study computer science.
After graduation, Neasham wants to work in the field while obtaining her master’s degree, giving her the credentials to teach in the future.
“I’m definitely over the top when it comes to working in math, and just taking the hardest classes I can to prepare me for the future because I’m very future-oriented,” Neasham said.