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Bryan receives Aspirations in Computing Award

Rebecca "Becky" Bryan, a freshman computer science undergraduate student at UMass Amherst, was a 2011-2012 winner of the Massachusetts Aspirations in Computing Affiliate Award (MACAA) and a runner-up of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCW IT) Award for Aspirations in Computing.  As a recipient of the Massachusetts award, she also received a $5,000 UMass Amherst Computer Science scholarship.

The NCWIT is partnering with local technology companies and universities to honor young high school women with the MACAA for their computing-related achievements and interests.

Never exposed to the subject before, Bryan, of Westborough, MA, took a computer science course during her junior year at Westborough High School. She expressed an interest in CS to her father, so he took her on a tour of MathWorks in Natick, MA, where he works. After that tour, Bryan decided to pursue a career in CS. She has already done some software engineering work and hopes to obtain a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) position this summer in a field other than software engineering so that she can explore as much of computer science as she can, stating, "There are just so many options with computer science!"

Bryan was on the high school ski team for two years and participated in cross-country running and indoor track. A member of the National Honor Society, she was also involved in the start-up of the Christian Student Alliance with two close friends at her high school. Through her junior and senior years, the alliance grew from the initial three students to fifteen. "It is so rewarding," says Bryan, "to watch something grow for which you have worked so hard." At UMass Amherst, Bryan is part of Navigators, a Christian group on campus, and is involved with MercyHouse, a local church in Amherst, MA.

UMass Amherst CS will again sponsor a scholarship for 2013 MACAA winners who meet the eligibility criteria.