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Stout student receives $10,000 grant for women in technology

Stout student receives $10,000 grant for women in technology

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A University of Wisconsin-Stout senior is one of 100 students worldwide to win a $10,000 scholarship from the Google Women Techmakers Scholars Program.

Kendra Aumann-Weyenberg, of DeKalb, Ill., who is majoring in computer science with a game design and development concentration, said she was thrilled to learn she was one of only 20 students in the U.S. who had received the scholarship.

She plans to use the money for tuition in the 2020-21 academic year.

The scholarship is open to women from any technical field, such as computer science or video game programming. The application process included four essay questions, a letter of recommendation and a resume.

Aumann-Weyenberg has a cooperative internship this summer through Career Services. She is working for 12 weeks remotely as a software engineering intern for Digi-Key of Thief River Falls, Minn., an electronic parts distributor. “It’s great working on a team and learning more about coding,” she said.

Aumann-Weyenberg chose to attend UW-Stout for the game design program. “I like the creativity and control that computer science allows for,” she said.

She enjoys the Stout Game Expo in particular. Last year, she helped create Woolhemina’s Bedtime Round-Up. The game focuses on a sheep character that is trying to escape a forest of partying “woolfs” by using the sheep’s yawn blast to make sure they go to sleep before dawn.

“I really enjoy the classes at Stout because of the hands-on learning approach,” Aumann-Weyenberg said. “It’s a good learning environment with professors who are passionate about teaching. And there are a lot of team projects, which have been helpful in preparing me for my internship and eventually my career. I enjoy the game design classes because it’s great to work hard with a team creating a game for a semester and then be able to show it off at the Stout Game Expo and see people’s reactions as they play it.“

Diane Christie, director of the computer science program, wrote the recommendation letter for Aumann-Weyenberg and said she is an excellent choice for the scholarship.

“She uses her strong problem-solving and teamwork skills to conquer challenges,” Christie said. “Kendra has solid technical skills and can quickly pick up new technologies. Google has recognized her as a future woman leader in the tech world by awarding this $10,000 scholarship.

“Google’s Women Techmakers Scholarship for computer science and gaming is a highly competitive scholarship that provides visibility, community and resources for women in technology,” Christie added. “It recognizes academic performance, leadership and impact on the community of women in technology.”

Previous scholars have been from MIT, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University and University of California at Berkeley. “This scholarship recognizes that students from the computer science program at UW-Stout are future leaders in the tech world as well.”

Normally the scholarship would include a retreat in June with workshops and speakers in California. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the retreat has been canceled but a virtual alternative will be offered.

Aumann-Weyenberg encourages other students to apply for scholarships. “Even if you think that a scholarship is really competitive, don’t underestimate yourself,” she said. “Write passionately about your experiences and goals and apply for many scholarships.”

UW-Stout’s computer science with game design and development concentration has been ranked in the top 50 by Princeton Review for the last six years and was the first and only game design program accredited under the computer science curriculum by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

UW-Stout also offers many scholarships, including the Blue Devil Guarantee. Every eligible first-year student automatically receives it.

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