Community News

Rachel Fernandez of Westminster High School wins National Center for Women & InformationTechnology Award

Published: February 6, 2023



WESTMINSTER...Westminster High School (WHS) junior and MERITS student, Rachel Fernandez, was announced as a national award recipient of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC) for 2023.

The NCWIT Award for AiC honors 9th-12th grade women, genderqueer, or non-binary students for their computing-related achievements and interests, and encourages them to pursue their passions. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, as demonstrated by their computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access, and plans for post-secondary education.

Fernandez has big dreams in the field of computer science, hoping to pursue a career in CyberSecurity or Data Science. Throughout her high school career, she has already built an impressive resume of accolades:

  • Software Engineering Internship
  • Designed an accessible Hepatitis-B diagnostic tool
  • Placed top 10% nationally in a CyberSecurity Competition
  • 2nd place and 3rd place at a UCLA nanoscience SharkTank-style competition
  • Leads WHS FIRST Robotics team, CyberLions
  • 2022 NCWIT Award for AiC National Honorable Mention
  • President of WHS Computer Science Club and Women in STEM Club
  • Led classmates in developing a cube satellite with MIT
  • Teaches coding workshops at Warner Middle School and other local elementary schools

Amy Sabol, WHS Principal, expressed, “We could not be more proud of Rachel. She exemplifies the best of what it means to be a Westminster Lion. Her curiosity and commitment to pursue what she is passionate about is commendable. I have no doubt that she will continue to inspire all of us as she continues her journey.”

Fernandez is currently a semifinalist with fellow WHS student, Sophie Nguyen, for the MIT THINK scholarship. THINK caters to students who have done extensive research on the background of a potential research project.

“Ever since I’ve fallen in love with STEM,” explained Fernandez, “it’s been my mission to build up the next generation of engineers and scientists and inspire them to advocate for the subject as I do!”

The Huntington Beach Union High School District is thrilled to celebrate Rachel Fernandez’s accomplishments with computer science, and we are proud of HBUHSD students who are actively pursuing their passions and dreams. Photo:HBUHSD


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