UCS Senior receives NCWIT Aspirations in Computing high school award

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published May 21, 2024

 Eisenhower senior Melanija Ilijevski earned the national Aspirations in Computing High School Award.

Eisenhower senior Melanija Ilijevski earned the national Aspirations in Computing High School Award.

Photo provided by Jennifer Kane


SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS — Eisenhower High School senior Melanija Ilijevski loves computer science and found a strong interest in making a career out of it.

“I love building things with code and animation. I love the atmosphere of being a software engineer — the critical thinking that goes with it and the group collaboration that occurs when you have a team working together,” she said.

Ilijevski’s dedication to computer science has placed her among a handful of Michigan students to receive the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing high school award. The award honors students for their computer science achievements while encouraging them to pursue it as a career.

“I love any task that has to do with critical thinking. I’ve been taking computer science courses ever since the beginning of junior high school, and as the years (passed), the courses increased in difficulty, fueling my curiosity for the subject,” she said.

At Eisenhower, she founded the school’s Hack Club and created an app that is available for a video game that she and her sister created called Brickball.

“I have really been inspired from courses I have taken and the projects we have built. I would say the course rigor here has definitely propelled me into majoring in what I want to do, especially the engineering classes,” she said.

Eisenhower chemistry teacher Melissa Minton said Ilijevski is the rarest of students.

“She is curious, enthusiastic, and will work tirelessly to achieve any goal set before her. There is no quit in that mind, and even she said, ‘Senioritis has not hit — I’m on the grind and ready for these AP tests,’” Minton said.

Minton said that Ilijevski was one of only two juniors in AP Chemistry last year, and Minton found Ilijevski’s  work to always be at the top of her class.

“She has no quit in her and started several clubs during her time at Eisenhower. I was honored to be asked to be an adviser for one club. To see her develop her leadership skills while helping others was a true honor as an educator,” she said.

To earn the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing honor, Ilijevski submitted a biography, four essays about computer science and a portfolio of projects.

Her next step is to attend the University of Michigan, where she will be studying computer science, on her way to a career as a software engineer.