The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) Award Program is adjusting to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the rest of the community and world.  As the virus progresses and communities and businesses become increasingly involved in ways to slow and manage its spread, we are committed to doing our part to ensure the safety of our program participants, staff and partners.

We have implemented changes in how we work and support program participants and partners during this period and wanted to share them with you:

  • Staying Connected While Exercising Responsibility 

We are working remotely and acting responsibly to keep our participants and loved ones safe while continuing to support, empower, and recognize young women with computing aspirations.  And we’re especially committed to ensuring our partners continue to realize the value of being a devoted MNAiC sponsor. Messages will be conveyed through numerous communication channels to provide our many audiences with timely, supportive, and critical information. 

  • MNAiC Gatherings and Summer Internship Offerings 

All special events previously scheduled to occur in April have been cancelled.  At this time, the Rising Star honoree event has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 20 at Optum in Eden Prairie, and the Certificate of Distinction honoree event make-up date is Saturday, June 27 at General Mills in Golden Valley.  Registration information will soon be communicated to these honoree types.

As for the annual MNAiC Ceremony which showcases top-level state and national honorees, and involves parents, educators, sponsors, and special guests, the MNAiC committee is currently investigating the idea of offering a high-tech, high-touch virtual experience.  Many innovative ideas have surfaced. Stay tuned for an announcement soon. 

As circumstances allow, we certainly hope that a majority of the 19 summer paid internships offered by MNAiC sponsors can still materialize.  We made a huge leap in the off-season to secure 100% more offers and companies.  We thank Best Buy, HelpSystems, Land O’Lakes, Merrill Corporation, Minnesota Twins, Optum, Prime Therapeutics, SPS Commerce, Thomson Reuters, and Trimble for making such an amazing contribution to the program, yet we understand that in some cases, the opportunity to utilize MNAiC talent at this time, may be hampered.   

MNAiC feels it is especially important that our Minnesota communities are provided an appropriately sized dose of good news about this year’s 133 Minnesota technology award honorees.  We’re committed to ensuring all our female technology stars from high schools throughout Minnesota, are afforded the opportunity to be recognized for the light they shine. It’s refreshing news to share and enjoy.  Continue to watch for honoree announcements.  

Our team will continue to monitor news on COVID-19.  Should we experience any further interruptions and changes to our programming, updates will be emailed and posted on social media. 

Subscribe to the Aspirations IT Connect Community and follow us on social media (@minnesotaaic) to receive updates.  As always, if you have a personal need to connect please don’t hesitate to contact Director of IT Career Pathways and Partnerships, Russell Fraenkel by email at russell.fraenkel@metrostate.edu

Here are some local and national resources to help you and your organization navigate the coronavirus health emergency:

COVID-19 Information for Minnesotans

Daily DEED updates answering questions and providing resources to businesses and employers affected by COVID-19.

Distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic

How Minnesota schools are preparing.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers 

From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Guide to Remote Work During COVID-19 

Just For Kids

A Comic from NPR Exploring The New Coronavirus.

Ramsey County Mental and Behavior Health Covid-19 Support

MN Department of Health Resources for Mental Health and Wellbeing Associated with Covid-19

What's Open, Closed or Canceled in Minnesota Because of the Coronavirus