- Associated Press - Friday, February 10, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Just call Sally Witwer a rock star.

Her computer science teacher already does.

The 18-year-old senior will graduate from Canterbury High School with an advanced computer technology certificate. She also recently received recognition from the National Council for Women in Technology, which offers the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. She was named a winner in the Indiana competition and received honorable mention at the national level.

“She is a total rock star in this world,” teacher Doug Bergman said in a statement. “Her résumé, just in the computer science world alone, puts most high school kids to shame.”

Once an avid writer, Witwer said her older brother - now a web developer - drew her to the field several years ago, about seventh grade. She discovered she loves the creativity she can express through programming and the satisfaction that comes with it, she said.

By the end of her junior year, Witwer had worked her way through Canterbury’s computer science courses, including web design and advanced computer technology, she said.

This school year, she enrolled in classes through the Malone School Online Network. Bergman is her Malone instructor.

“I absolutely love it,” Witwer said. “It’s so much fun.”

She and a classmate are developing an educational fire safety program that works with the Xbox Kinect, a device that lets users command the gaming system with their voice and gestures. She said they are programming the gadget to recognize certain body movements, like those associated with the fire safety technique, “stop, drop and roll.”

While she would be happy to work in software or web development, Witwer said her dream is to work with artificial intelligence and make her own advancements in that field.

She encourages other girls to try computer science.

“No one should be daunted by it,” she said, recommending web design as a good first step into the field.

Bergman said Witwer is a role model for girls.

“We need younger girls to see her having successes and recognition in this field,” he said in a statement. “Females are so underrepresented in technology.”

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Source: The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette, https://bit.ly/2kripVy

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net

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