BHS student awarded for Aspirations in Computing

Published 9:00 am Monday, April 29, 2024

A Brookhaven High School student is one of five high school students to be honored at the Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Award ceremony recently.

Makiya Wilson, a senior at BHS, was one of two 2024 NCWIT-Mississippi AiC Award winners. Passionate about technology, Wilson plans to major in computer science and promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. She is committed to inspiring underrepresented groups, especially women and people of color, to pursue STEM careers.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering and the National Center for Women and Information (NCWIT) – Mississippi Affiliate, recognized students at the AiC Award Luncheon at the Hattiesburg campus last week.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As part of an effort to encourage a diverse range of students to choose careers in computing and technology, the AiC Awards honor 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, and non-binary students for their computing-related achievements, aspirations, abilities, and influential guidance.

Award recipients were selected from more than 3,300 applicants from across the U.S. and Canada. In Mississippi, recipients included: two Winners, two Honorable Mentions, and a Rising Star.

“It is such an honor to recognize these amazing women,” said Dr. Sarah Lee, director of the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering. “Our School is committed to providing programs like Aspirations in Computing to broaden and engage more Mississippi students with computing and cybersecurity.”

Mercy Jaiyeola, assistant teaching professor of computer science added: “The AiC Award plays a pivotal role in inspiring students, especially those from historically marginalized groups, to persist in their computing aspirations. It provides them with access to a supportive community with numerous professional development opportunities, igniting their passion and fostering greater diversity within the industry.

The other AiC winner was Sara Sinha, a Madison Central High School junior. Sinha plans to attend Yale University and become an active member of the Women in Science at the Yale community. Her commitment extends to advocating for gender equality in STEM. She envisions a career in biotechnology, driven by a passion to enhance the quality of human life.

The two Honorable Mentions were senior Sydney Smith, of the Blair Center at Hattiesburg High; and Emily Jia, a junior at Madison Central. The Rising Star award was presented to Sadie Seal, a sophomore at Forest County Agricultural High School. 

The NCWIT AiC High School Award is sponsored by Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, U.S. Department of Defense STEM, Jane Street, Match Group, Microsoft, and Shopify.

For more information on The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), visit