Natallie St. Onge
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published 11:38 AM EDT Jun 14, 2020
When Kendra Aumann-Weyenberg was 15, she was inspired by a local librarian to code.
Aumann-Weyenberg, who was homeschooled, went to the local library to learn the basics of programming and HTML through one of its programs. The librarian encouraged Aumann-Weyenberg to go into the field.
“She was a strong female role model,” Aumann-Weyenberg said. “She convinced me to go into computer science.”
Four essay questions, one recommendation letter and a resume later, Aumann-Weyenberg is one of 100 recipients worldwide to receive Google’s Women Techmakers Scholars Program award of $10,000. She is one of 20 in the United States.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” she said.
With that sum of money, Aumann-Weyenberg plans to put it towards her final year at University Wisconsin-Stout, where she majors in computer science-game design and development.
“I love the problem solving and the creativity of computer science,” she said.
The DeKalb, Ill., native added the Google scholarship to her list after she saw it in a school email. At the time, she was applying to a variety of scholarships, hoping for the best when it came to any and all of them, since she is paying for college by herself.
The scholarship is designated for college women in any technical field, like computer science and video game programming.
Aumann-Weyenberg said she notices that at most one in five of her classmates in programming or math classes are women. She says she has been lucky.
“Several professors at Stout are strong, female role models who have been influential as well,” Aumann-Weyenberg said in an email. “Someday, I hope to inspire more young women to major in computer science.”
Her favorite project to date is a video game she made with four other students called “Woolhemina’s Bedtime Round-Up.” The game has a main character, who is a sheep, that uses its contagious yawn to blast partying “woolfs” to sleep before the night is over.
As a software engineering intern on the corporate finance team at Digi Keys, an electronic part distributor, she is learning how to advance her skills in coding. Upon graduation, Aumann-Weyenberg hopes to get a job in computer coding where she is happy and can say she contributed to something great.