FPS student and staff member win tech awards

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published March 26, 2021

Advertisement

Farmington High School senior Tejaswini Ravula, and career and technical education/information technology/business teacher Jason Canfield both won Aspirations in Computing awards from the National Center for Women and Information Technology. 

According to a press release, U.S. high school students in grades nine-12 who self identify as women, genderqueer or non-binary are eligible to receive recognition for their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access and plans for post-secondary education. 

Ravula won her AiC award through the local Michigan Council of Women in Technology. 

"It feels amazing. I honestly didn't think I would win the award, but I am so incredibly proud to have won it,” Ravula said.

According to its website, AiC helps to address barriers in women’s participation. Technology too often has a culture of invisibility, otherness, self-doubt and closed doors. AiC program elements turn barriers into possibilities by offering exclusive awards, scholarships, internships, and building women’s leadership, technical and entrepreneurial skills, according to the organization.

Canfield received the 2021 Michigan Affiliate Educator Honorable Mention Award from the national organization.

As an educator, Canfield is currently teaching a cybersecurity course within Farmington Public Schools and runs clubs such as Girls who Code. 

The  AiC program helps educators continue their education by granting them funds. Since 2011, more than 500 educators have been recognized and have received more than $225,000 in professional development funding to improve their computing education skills.

Canfield noted that he is going to use his winnings to continue his education in the tech field. Though he’s already gotten a few classes in the tech space within the Farmington Public Schools district, he is hoping to expand the class options even more over the next few years. 

With the tech area being such a male dominated field, getting as many women interested and having success is key to breaking down those barriers.

“It’s a pretty big honor and distinction,”  Canfield said. “It really helps make me stand out as an educator in terms of teaching technology and computer science. Also, it helps to just further grow and expand computing careers and technology careers, and encourages women involvement.” 

As for what it can do for Ravula and Canfield, the honor is going to help pave a brighter future. Ravula will be able to use this award on college and job applications, among other things.  

For Canfield, it validates him as a strong educator in the tech space, especially one that is inclusive for a diverse group of people. 

For both, winning this award showcases just what FPS has to offer in the tech field. Canfield hopes more people join his classes and look into these types of careers. 

To learn more about AiC, visit https://www.aspirations.org/AiC. 

“I joined my school's robotics team when I was a freshman in high school, and I loved being a part of the programming team. I sadly had to quit because I didn't have enough time, but I loved programming so I decided to take a couple programming courses my school offered to gain a little bit more knowledge on the subject,” Ravula said. “To other women pursuing this field I would say that sometimes it is very hard to be a woman in the computing field and you might not get taken as seriously as a man, but as long as you have faith in yourself and your programming skills, don't let anyone stop you from pursuing your passion.”

Call Staff Writer Zachary Manning at (586) 279-1107.

Advertisement