Rising Stars in Computing

Tihmily Li, Communications Officer
The National Centre for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) offers programming, workshops, mentorship and awards to individuals  who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary to help them achieve their computing-related interests, and encourages them to pursue their passions. 

In September, Collin Stubbs nominated both Rhiannon O’Brien ‘23 and Phoebe Starnino ‘23 for the NCWIT’s Rising Star award, which is awarded to students who may be starting out in their pursuit and study of computing. Rising Stars embody the idea of aspirations and are encouraged to continue their exploration of the field. Both students went through the application process which involved multiple long-form written answers, an official teacher recommendation and multiple rounds of global application review.

Rhiannon and Phoebe have been Collin Stubbs’s students since they were in Grade 10, when they were enrolled in his Grade 11 Computer Science course. “Mr. Stubbs really made the learning environment very inclusive,” says Rhiannon. “Every class, he would feature both a woman and a man as Tech Person of the Day which I felt was very encouraging for me to see. What was really nice about taking Computer Science is that I could take my other interests into tech. A few postsecondary programs I applied to combine music and technology.” 

Phoebe echoes Rhiannon’s sentiment. “Mr. Stubbs is always supportive,” she says. “I had a lot of fun bringing my two passions – hockey and Taylor Swift – into my Computer Science projects. I created a code in Spotify to detect which hockey players were Swifties. In Mr. Stubbs’s classes, I found my own joy in code even though it was intimidating at first. Now, I’m interested in pursuing hockey analytics.”
There will be an official award ceremony in late March for both Rhiannon and Phoebe to receive their awards. Congratulations to both recipients!
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