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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Sally Witwer, a senior at Canterbury High School, recently received state and national recognition from the National Council for Women in Technology in the NCWIT Aspirations for Computing Awards.

  • Beam

Monday, February 06, 2017 7:33 pm

Teen destroying technology stereotypes

Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

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."

Ivy Tech

• Volunteers will be at Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd., from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday to provide free FAFSA filing help as part of College Goal Sunday. For nearly 30 years, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 90,000 Indiana students and families complete the FAFSA properly and on time. The form is the gateway to financial aid but is often perceived as difficult. The FAFSA deadline is March 10.

• The construction technology and building construction management programs at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast have received the Indiana Career and Technical Education Award for Excellence by the Indiana Department of Education. Ivy Tech offers three associate degree programs, three certificate options, and three technical certificate options between the two programs.

• The special cuisines class at Ivy Tech Northeast will create, prepare and serve world-cuisine themed meals for class credit throughout the semester. Meals begin at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays in the Hospitality Room (door 24) on Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd. Cost is $25. Wine costs extra. This month’s themes are Italy on Feb. 9, France on Feb. 16 and Spain and Greece on Feb. 23. Reservations are required. Go to or call 260-481-2243.


• Trine University has a series of on-campus events throughout February to celebrate Black History Month. Two free events are planned this week and are open to the public. A "Let’s Talk" presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room and will feature Jennifer Smith, a Goshen Police Department patrol officer. A soulful music event featuring Fort Wayne musician Chris Worth is set for 5 p.m. Thursday in Whitney Commons.


Teri A. Beam has been named department chair of pharmaceutical sciences at Manchester University College of Pharmacy, Natural & Health Sciences. She joined the pharmacy program in July 2015 and is recognized for her expertise in medical genetics, molecular biology and pharmacogenomics. A Homestead High School graduate, she is originally from Fort Wayne but now lives in Columbia City.


• The American Society for Microbiology has selected Janine Bennett from IPFW as a 2016 award recipient of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her research project, "The role of scytonemin in the adaptation to oxidative stress in cyanobacteria." The fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology. This year, 85 applications were received and 42 were awarded. 


• The Indiana Sheriffs’ Association will award about 40 $500 college scholarships to high school seniors or college students pursuing a degree in criminal justice studies. Applicants must be an Indiana resident; be an association member or dependent child or grandchild of an association member; attend an Indiana college or university; major in a law enforcement field; and enroll as a full-time student. Applications are due April 1. Visit your high school counselor or go to for a form.


• The Region 8 Education Service Center will host a free digital resources vendor fair from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at The Summit, 1027 W. Rudisill Blvd. The event will feature publishers and providers showcasing digital and technology products. The resources align with science/health curriculum and can be used with a variety of devices and platforms, including laptops and tablets. Public, private, charter and parochial school educators are welcome to attend. A free lunch is included. Go to and click "Workshop/Workshop Registration" for a schedule and registration. Call 423-0030 with questions.

• Fort Wayne Community Schools is offering a free, four-week program for middle and high school students to prepare for life after high school. The program will be offered on four consecutive Saturdays beginning Feb. 18 and ending March 11 at the FWCS Family and Community Engagement Center, 230 E. Douglas Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon for high school students and 1 to 3 p.m. for seventh- and eighth-graders. Call the K-12 College and Career Readiness Office at 260-467-7250 for information or to enroll. The registration deadline is Friday.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.