Past ACPE Scholarship Awards
2017 Scholarship Winners
Bemnet Assefa - Health Science and Human Services HS, Highline School District, Seattle WA
Despite limited computer science opportunities in her high school, Bemnet has participated in numerous community and after school coding activities including the Girls Who Code summer immersion program at the Microsoft Headquarters. She has taught immigrants with little English skills at the Ethiopian Community Center basic computer skills in Microsoft Office, Gmail, and various social media accounts. She founded and provided teaching assistance for two Girls Who Code Clubs at the University of Washington and the Technology Access Foundation, to empower her community of girls from marginalized backgrounds. She also worked with Code.org to teach accessible technical skills. Several Advanced Placement Computer Science classes on her school campus even use her free online videos to teach software languages. She has also assisted Treehouse and her high school Key Club with technology projects.
Bemnet won second place in “Hack the CD” Seattle Hackathon, creating Puplert.com, a website to search for lost dogs.
Bemnet is excited to learn how to expand her technological humanitarian footprint into international settings by using this scholarship to attend a university and double major in international relations and computer science.
During David’s high school career, he primarily acquired technology knowledge from four sources: self-taught programming experiences, robotics, physics and chemistry class, and independent projects. Two specific experiences impressed the scholarship committee, his committee to community service and his participation in an internship.
David works with Mission: Citizen, a student-directed 501(c)(3) nonprofit that prepares immigrants for the Citizenship and Immigration Services’ naturalization test. He began volunteering by occasionally teaching classes, then stepped up to led an eight-week, fifty-person class during his junior year. This year, he oversees Mission: Citizen’s online and social media presence, and also work on numerous projects with the Executive Director. David also participated in an Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) internship, I jointly developed an app that seeks correlations between health data and outside factors under Professor Nirupama Bulusu at Portland State University.
David plans to attend college to study a science-related field. Currently, he is considering chemistry, physics, chemical engineering or computer science.
During her high school career, Elizabeth has taken every Honors science class offered up by her school. Among them being Honors Physics, Chemistry, Integrated Science, Biology, Computer Science,, and Advanced STEM Research (ASR). Specifically, ASR is a yearlong class in which students think of real-world applicable science research topics. ASR encourages independent research. These ideas are put to the test by collecting and analyzing data.
Odessa is a rural town, 45 minutes from any sort of larger city. In order to stay connected to the outside world, technology becomes vital. About three years ago, the librarian was looking for someone willing to devote some time, teaching computer skills. Because of her skills, Elizabeth began volunteering 1-2 hours a week. Additionally, she used her knowledge of technology to set up an “Hour of Code” night. It helps teach students and parents how to code and understand the basics of a computer. She has also used technology to help promote, create maps, and educational supplies for our town’s Crater Loop’s Trail. Understanding the connection between her community and technology, she created a program which corresponds with any smartphone or cellphone texting application. The user is able to text a phone number, which will be programmed to place online orders from stores they preselected. Her initial idea dealt with ordering pizzas for delivery. However, her focus is now turning toward using this in her community. Odessa has a large population of “shut-ins” who are unable to pick up supplies around town when needed. Connecting these people to the businesses in the community means help to the town economy and also those who need it most.
Elizabeth plans to attend Gonzaga University and major in computer science.
For Emmett, technology knowledge has come mostly through self-guided exploration. He participated in a 3-week, incubator-style, summer program for high school students. He pitched an idea for a haptic glove that would allow people to touch and grasp objects in virtual reality as if the object had an actual physical presence. As part of a team of three, he then spent the duration of the program learning new programming languages and creating a working prototype of the glove. He has had numerous other computer related experiences including mentoring a girls middle school robotics team during his freshman year of high school. Every Friday for three months he walked to the school and, with the help of two teachers, worked with 15 girls designing, building, and prototyping a robot.
While his “traditional” computer experiences were extensive, he also stepped “outside the box” to try something new. In his own words “ Maybe my friends and counselors were right. Maybe AP Studio Art wasn’t for me. Most of them didn’t think I could make it through the hardest art class at my school. I had signed up for AP Studio Art because I was curious: “What could I do in a class with that much creative freedom?” Failing my first assignment answered that question: “Not much.” Apparently, my critics were right. I wondered, what if I could turn my strengths and interests into art? What if I could use computer programming as my medium? I could represent numbers, lists, loops, logic, and math with lines, shapes, and colors. Through programming, I could teach the computer to visually explain its algorithms. So I started my Visualization Portfolio.” He went onto develop his work and though initially rebuked, submitted the work to the College Board for the AP Studio Art Portfolio review.
Emmett plans to attend a four year college and major in electrical and computer or mechanical engineering.
By far the biggest influence on his engineering endeavors was his experience in 3D printing which began during his internship at Dynamic Robotics Laboratory on the Oregon State University campus. He was responsible for improving their 3D printer; this entailed diagnosing a problem’s origin, researching possible solutions, and making necessary modifications to improve the machine’s performance.
Following his DRL internship, he used his recently accumulated experience to build his own 3D printer. After two months of construction, the first prints resembled plastic spaghetti. Needless to say, that was not the intended outcome. Numerous problems, including a mislabeled thermistor port, a faulty stepper motor, and a delta arm failure, led to several days of research, testing, updating software, and replacing hardware. In the end, he created an accurate and reliable 3D printer for under $500 whose capabilities challenge those of its more expensive counterparts.
He recently used his 3D printer to create essential parts for the competition robot of his high school’s FRC
Team, CV Robotics. For example, there was no way to fasten the camera used for precision movement control onto the robot; therefore, he designed and 3D printed a mount which securely held the camera, cord, and LED lights on the robot while protecting them from damage.
Joshua plans to attend Oregon State University to major in Mechanical and Electrical engineering and participate in two internships awarded through MECOP.
2016 Scholarship Winners
Olga has been involved in several projects in her high school career including founding her school’s Gender Equality Club, participating in Girls Who Code and Robotics. Beyond these she found a desire to help her friends that disliked math, and set out to do her small part to help. Sensing that many disliked math because of a lack of understanding, she grabbed her dad’s video camera, her sister’s whiteboard, and her old math notebooks, and created her first ever math tutorial. She never intended these videos to reach anybody past her friend group, but after a couple months, other classmates approached her and thanked her for my explanations. Some of them even requested certain math topics be explained in one of her videos. From there, she continued filming and editing videos on challenging topics, and at one point, she started to branch out and film physics and chemistry videos as well. Although her channel only has 5,000 views, she take pride in how it has made some people hate math less. Olga plans to student computer science at a four year university.
Alexandra founded the InvenTeam and lead her school’s effort to create two different projets, the Scumbot and the Water Trotter. The award winning Scumbot is an autonomous robot that removes aquatic surface vegetation from small lakes and ponds to prevent eutrophication and restore aesthetic appeal. The Water Trotter transports and purifies water in a cost efficient and durable manner for individuals and towns without access to clean water. The Water Trotter, also an award winning design, had many locally sourced materials and includes a water purification system. Alexandra is also involved in the Alexandra plans to attend Stanford University. She is unsure of what area of technology/engineering she will pursue.
Kyle spent the last year rebuilding a CNC machine from the ground up. Purchased on 2009, it had never been used. Kyle not only got the machine operational (including finding a Windows XP machine to match the machine’s software), but also created step by step instructions so it will continue to be used in the future. This machine is now being used by students multiple times a day for a variety of different uses, from simple shapes to complex parts, like sprockets. Kyle plans to attend Oregon Institute of Technology, focusing on Embedded Systems Engineering.
Reacting to a big problem with students, Erikson created a smartphone app Procrastinatorr (yes two rr's). "Procrastination is now a thing of the past.” Beyond the technical challenges of creating an app, Erikson had to truly understand how tech startups work, beyond having the initial idea, including investments, non-disclosure agreements, and business plans. The app is currently available in the iTunes app store where is has received many favorable reviews. Erikson plans to immerse himself in the four-year global entrepreneurial curriculum of the World Bachelor in Business with University of Southern California, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Bocconi University.
Jason spent a summer interning at Surescripts. Surescript is one of two companies which manages electronic prescriptions for health care systems and virtual machines for doctors. Jason worked with the Operations Department, creating a website to provide instant feedback on machines performance. Focusing on two types of graphs that included several message states with data points, and an interactive graph that the user can drill down to obtain additional information about a system. Jason has also been involved in his Robotics club for the last four years, and has an extensive self taught computer programming background. Jason plans to attend Oregon State University enrolled in their computer engineering program.
2015 Scholarship Recipients
After “hearing” announcements over their high school's archaic PA system, Dustin and the other members of his app development team focus an app to replace the system. Originally a mobile website, the FHS app was turned into a native app using Adobe’s PhoneGap software. It enables students to receive personalized announcements about classes, clubs, sports and the faculty, as well as the daily bulletin. It also includes various resources such as links to Franklin’s website, schedules and a calendar. Dustin continues to strive to improve the app.
Valerie has conducted science research projects on energy technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar panels (2013 Google Science Fair Top 15 Global Finalist); was invited to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the Intel International Science Fair CERN award, where she discussed large-scale computing and particle accelerator technology with CERN scientists; worked full-time as a summer Software Developer Intern at Intel; was one of 83 students selected internationally for the RSI (Research Science Institute); and worked under MIT Professor Alfredo Alexander-Katz. Her research is now focused on developing novel algorithms to identify the highest-efficiency quantum dot materials for quantum dot solar cells.
Dansil has spent her high school career learning and leading with the “Shop Girls,” an all-female team charged with the task of building a fuel-efficient car for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas race, held every year in April. Her freshman year found her part of an all-new team. In her sophomore year, she became the manager and driver. Over the past three years, she has helped guide her team in building a new car and winning the prized Safety Award twice. Her leadership skills have also translated to the creation of a nonprofit and now business, Today’s Educational Community Outreach (TECO). Currently, TECO is working with Dansil's local Boys & Girls Club to promote Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) in her community.
One day in Bryan’s broadcasting class, he learned about a series of emails his teacher found regarding long-forgotten football teams at his high school. Selecting this as an article topic, he began researching the time period, 1953. Finding that the football story was indeed a lost part of his town's history, he embarked on what became a two-year, technologically challenging project whose final outcome was a documentary, "The Streak." Bryan interviewed players, coaches and cheerleaders from that time, created a website for the interviews and other photos and information, and created and debuted the documentary, all utilizing his technology skills.
Although her first formal introduction to technology wasn’t until high school, Alexandra has been fascinated with computers her whole life, and would often spend hours teaching herself how to use different programs. In particular, she likes to integrate technology with her other passions: “Last year, I embarked on a massive project integrating technology with my passion for music,” she explains. Utilizing MuseScore software, she arranged six songs into a score with 28 different parts, experimenting with various instrumentation and working late into the night perfecting harmonies that resulted in a seven-minute masterpiece for her school’s band.
2014 ACPE Scholarship Recipients
Ewurama Karikari – Bethel HS, Bethel SD, Spanaway, WA
Ewurama is a multilingual, community service-oriented student. Beyond typical robotics club participation, she has taken robotics out to the community to showcase how everyone can be involved in technology. “Through my engineering degree I hope to travel to Third World countries and improve their conditions," she says, "which would let me give back to the community I came from, such as going back to my country of origin, Ghana, and improving the community there.”
Jeanine created a preschool/kindergarten program, “Learning Steps,” which received the Professional's Choice Award at the Oregon Game Project Challenge (OGPC). She also developed, sought funding for and implemented Females Advancing Computing and Technology (FACT) camp, for 8th-grade girls, to encourage them to participate in technology in high school. “I’ve always known that computer science was the subject area for me because it continually seemed to click," she says. "From when my mother taught me about ALICE [Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity] in 5th grade, to my computer simulation for the class science fair in 6th grade, to programming games on my calculator in 8th grade, to taking programming classes in high school, and finally to trying to get more girls to take CS courses, I’ve always managed to find a way to incorporate computer science into my life.”
Brennan is a self-trained programmer who founded a local high school programming club, as none was available. He created a major portion of the new TechYES site: the GenYES site, which provides infrastructure for turning a classroom of students into a schoolwide IT support team. The code base for TechYES.org adds up to over 59,000 lines of code, over half of which were written by Brennan. “I see life as a set of problems," he says. "This may seem like a pessimistic view of the world, but I prefer to interpret it as a reflection of my interest in finding solutions.”
Tracy Tran – Kentridge HS, Kent SD, Kent, WA
Tracy is a member of the Student Technology Educational Partnerships program in Kent SD. As part of a Microsoft camp, she created Date Savior, an app to solve a real-world problem: saving people from terrible dates. She also received a perfect score on her AP Calculus exam. “Every acquisition of knowledge begins with a bit of curiosity," she says, "and I’ve always been curious. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to know the how and the why: Why do things work? How does that apparatus accomplish its task? My curiosity naturally extended to computers, for it was so foreign and fascinating to me how a machine could be so intelligent.”
Vincent has participated in three university-level research projects: At a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Lewis & Clark College, he helped work on Orego, an artificial intelligence program designed to play the game of Go. Over a summer he did bioinformatics research at the Oregon National Primate Center, where he applied his knowledge of stochastic algorithms to a problem in computational biology. In the same cutting-edge spirit, his current research in quantum computing is driven by both a theoretical interest and a desire to revolutionize computing as we know it. While the familiar classical computing technology of today is lagging behind Moore’s law, quantum computing promises exponentially faster speeds. Thus, he is working to build an APL and C-based simulation of a quantum computer, and researching quantum combinatorial optimization and quantum graphs with Professor Bryant York at Portland State University. “I am also fascinated by the role of algorithms in the application of technology," he says. "My extensive experience with discrete mathematics paved the way for my studies of numerous algorithms textbooks, including the so-called 'bible,' 'Introduction to Algorithms' by CLRS. Beginning in 11th grade, I have participated in the USA Computing Olympiad, an algorithms-oriented programming contest.... In a similar problem-solving vein, I enjoy doing Project Euler problems in my free time to hone my coding skills as well as my algorithmic intuition.”