Chatham High School juniors Catarina DeMatos and Margaret Harrigan have been selected as recipients of the Award for Aspirations in Computing by the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT).
DeMatos has been selected as the 2016 New Jersey Affiliate runner-up, and Harrigan has been named a 2016 New Jersey Affiliate Certificate of Distinction.
“Although women make up half of the U.S. workforce, only 25 percent hold jobs in technical and computing fields," DeMatos said. "Being a minority in the field automatically makes you the underdog...To me, this recognition validates that I am on the right path, but also shows that there is still space for improvement.”
DeMatos has been a member of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics team for two years and currently serves as co-captain. She helped the team place in the finals at three of five competitions.
DeMatos has taken courses in CADD, Computer Science, and Robotics at CHS and is an active member of stage crew. In her free time, she is actively involved in bridging the the gender gap in STEM and computing fields. She mentors a 5th grade all-girls robotics competition team, which placed at the state competition under her direction.
“Catarina has shown not only a love for the technology fields, but also a continuous drive to learn. Her hard work and dedication have paid off,” Julianna Ryan, Robotics team advisor and CHS technology teacher, said.
Harrigan has taken a wide variety of STEM classes at the high school, including Robotics, Design in Tech and Web Design, CADD I and II, Architecture, Introduction to Computer Science, and AP Computer Science.
Outside of classes, she has been a member of the Tech Club for the past two years, and through this club, she has participated in technology and problem solving competitions against other schools. She also volunteers with Chatham STEM as well.
“I believe Margaret is an exceptional young woman and am ecstatic to see her achievements being recognized,” John Hadju, CHS technology teacher, said.