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Spartan Wins National Technology Award

Posted 05/09/2016 by Olivia Fullerton

Busse shows off their winning poster and submarine robot for the upcoming SeaPerch national competiion. photo by Anja Oss

Leo Busse continues to excel through her first two years at TJ after winning an award for Aspirations in Computing.

On April 23rd, sophomore Leo Busse won the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing for her outstanding aptitude and interest in the subject. Along with her many other achievements during her time at TJ, Busse is on the road to further success and turning heads as she goes.

At the University of Colorado Boulder, Busse, along with many other nominees, gathered for a workshop and awards ceremony. The award is given out to numerous students who are recognized at the national and local level based on their skills, dedication, and achievements in computing. The workshop consisted of applicants learning from engineers and programmers to build an App in MIT’s AppInventor, which is now used in advanced robotics classes at TJ. Busse left the event with not only the award, but two glass plaques: one for her, and another to bring for  TJ. Additionally, she was given a tote bag with a water bottle, portable charger, and other useful gifts.

The NCWIT competition includes recognition at both the national level (sponsored by Bank of America) and the local level (sponsored by Microsoft), in which Busse won her award along with other Coloradans. Each local award taps into the network of the program’s Alliance members where teams from academia, startups, non-profit organizations, and corporations come together to build a community of support for young women interested in computing. Busse was nominated by Eileen Adair and Stacey Fornstrom, who are both teachers in the Center for Communication Technology (CCT) program at TJ. Due to Busse’s role in robotics and software engineering, it was sensible that she is a winner.

Demonstrating many redeemable qualities, Busse additionally showed her wits through becoming a semi-finalist in the regional competition for the FIRST Tech Challenge. Furthermore, in the regional SeaPerch competition, her team won first in poster/design, and second in overall performance and will be traveling to the national competition at Louisiana State University in mid-May. Busse spoke fondly of the event saying, “I enjoy leading and collaborating with my peers.” Another representation of her leadership is her role of co-president of the Model United Nations Club, where she was one of 12 pilot students throughout Denver Public Schools (DPS) to participate in the first year of the DPS Academic Mentorship Program, nominated by Brian Weaver, head of the Gifted and Talented program at TJ. Within the mentorship, her field of study was bioengineering -specifically, a combination of biomedical and biomechanical engineering, placing an emphasis on internal and external prosthetic devices. Busse has been part of the Colorado Youth Summit program for two years, which is a hands-on program focusing on building leadership skills and building bridges with Colorado’s various communities. Finally, Busse has maintained a GPA of 4.7 to 4.9 throughout both of her years at TJ.

For many reasons, Busse has constantly shown her devotion and effort to science and technology. Adair remarked, “Leo has always stood out as a strong and curious student, and one who excels in all stages of the Engineering Design Process. She is a dedicated and passionate robotics student as shown by her journey to SeaPerch nationals. I knew this award would grant her the recognition she deserves.” For her post-secondary education, Busse plans on pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, and is particularly interested in medicine and/or engineering.

Busse has shown her talents all throughout her time at TJ and will undoubtedly go on to do great things within her desired field, as she is currently a part of many programs and is hoping to volunteer at either Children’s or Denver Health in a hospital volunteer internship program. Winning the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing has helped Busse travel along the road to success.