GSSM students recognized by Center for Women & Information Technology

January 28, 2015

South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) junior Selen Berkman, daughter of Minis and Mert Berkman of Greenville, is one of six S.C. high school students to receive the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. GSSM senior Crystel Sylvester, daughter of John and Ruvina Sylvester of Dorchester, has been selected as a runner-up.

To apply for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, both students were required to submit a variety of information, including their participation in computing and information technology accomplishments through school and extra curricular activities, work they have completed in the field and ways in which they have shown leadership in their community.

Berkman submitted essays describing her activities, leadership and future goals involving computing and technology.

“Representation of women in technology is a very significant problem, and I am honored to be recognized as a young female leader in computing who works to fix that problem,” said Berkman. “Over the past two years, I have taken college-level courses, created an application to aid students in the college search, and worked as the lead software engineer on the GSSM 772 robotics team. I hope to inspire young girls to pursue computing and technology in the future."

In her application, Sylvester submitted her research paper, “Creating a mobile application for college students via gamification,” which was conducted during GSSM’s six-week, mentored, research program, the Summer Program for Research Interns (SPRI). All GSSM students are required to conduct scientific or business research in a university or corporate R&D lab, under the direction of a mentor, during the summer between their junior and senior years.

These students along with the five other winners across the state will be recognized for their achievements at an awards ceremony held by IT-oLogy and NCWIT. The ceremony will be at Columbia College in February.

NCWIT is a non-profit coalition of over 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability by increasing women’s participation in IT. NCWIT’s work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. Find out more at

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