It’s common for a technology classroom to be full of young men with dreams of building robots and continuing to stretch the technological horizon. However, the future of technology needs multiple perspectives, including those of young women scientists-to-be.
To help encourage just that, Papillion-La Vista High School senior Delaney Lyman will receive the Aspirations in Computing Award at the local level of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting women in technology.
“They really just want to bring women in technology to the forefront,” Lyman, 17, said.
She said she will receive the award at the local level, covering Nebraska and the southwestern part of Iowa, along with eight other young women. To receive this award, she said she had to submit an application with multiple essays focusing on what she has accomplished and what her plans are for the future.
“My main point of my essay was starting a cyber-defense team here at Papillion-La Vista,” she said.
This team competed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha NULLify competition, bringing informational technology teams together to compete in a range of 11 different categories over the course of a day.
“It’s basically capture the flag with computers,” she said with a smile. “It wasn’t a dull 11 hours.”
While her team did not win first place, she said they did take second, earning them all Kindle Paperwhites.
She is the only girl to participate in the Papillion-La Vista High robotics class, where students build robots to fit certain competitions. Her team, she said, won three of the seven class competitions through the semester.
Lyman also participates in the Papillion-La Vista broadcasting club as the female news anchor.
“It’s kind of new,” she said. “When I was a sophomore, it was only five boys.”
Now the club is around 40 students, she said, with fewer than 10 girls. Still, she said the club and its sponsor, social studies instructor Becky Hoch, do a fantastic job of always teaching something new in technology, from livecasting a sports game to learning Adobe Photoshop.
“Whatever you’re doing, you’re learning something new,” she said.
Lyman said she and the eight other local winners will receive their awards at a UNO ceremony on April 6.
At this time she said she will receive a plaque for herself and her school, as well as an award from the Peter Keiwit organization that has yet to be announced.
This ceremony will be particularly special for her family, as her older sister, Berkley Lyman, will be the one to present her with the award.
“It’ll be kind of a special moment, as the older sister awards the younger sister,” said their father, Papillion-La Vista High School science instructor Terry Lyman.
Berkley also received the Aspirations in Computing Award as a national runner up. Terry Lyman said having both daughters receive this award is a testament to parenting young women to be strong.
“We always wanted to have strong girls in the family,” he said. “We didn’t want a Cinderella syndrome where they waited for someone else to rescue them.”
Somewhat following her sister’s footsteps, Lyman said she plans to also go to UNO and major in information assurance, while minoring in Spanish and Russian.
Unlike her sister, however, she plans to pursue a career with an organization like the Federal Bureau of Investigation or National Security Agency.
As for other young women interested in information technology, Lyman said she wants to encourage them to join in and not be intimidated by the male majority.
“I think what’s holding girls back is there aren’t very many women (in the field),” she said. “Because women are so sparse, it’s really important that the girls who are involved recruit other girls,”
However, she said all the boys in her classes and teams have made her feel special, adding that they value the perspective a girl can give.
“The guys aren’t that scary,” she added with a smile. “I think they want more women to be there.”