Student Spotlight: Student wins tech award, seeks to break gender barriers in computer science

Student Spotlight: Student wins tech award, seeks to break gender barriers in computer science

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Jenna Nesmith is a pioneer when it comes to technology, specifically women in technology.

She's one of the few South Carolina women to be recognized in high school for her passion for computer science. Nesmith even helped lead Women in Technology luncheons, and now she's in our Student Spotlight.

Nesmith said she loves solving problems, and that's why computer science fits her.

"Solving problems, taking code or anything to do with technology and, like, compiling it and solving a problem with it, because there's multiple ways to get the right answer," she said.

People like Nesmith have given us things we use every day, like iPhones, tablets and smart home devices.

Nesmith said she hopes to be a part of developing the next generation of tech treasures. Based on her successes so far, it looks like she's well on her way.

Before graduating early from the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology, Nesmith won a special award for her passion. She said part of winning it was to show how her gifts in computer science can help make the world a better place to live.

"We had to decide how we could improve the world using technology, and how we had to talk about how we help our community and what we'd done in technology," she said.

Nesmith won the Aspirations in Computing award. However, she didn't win it the first year she applied. Her persistence paid off, and she won this year instead.

The national contest is sponsored by tech companies like Microsoft, Apple and Bank of America. Nesmith hopes the contest award will help her start the next phase of her techie career at the College of Charleston.

After graduation, she said she plans to stay in Charleston and pursue a software developer position at a start-up company.

As a woman in the computer science field, Nesmith said she's learned to persevere despite the hurdles, and has this advice for anyone else wanting to walk a similar path.

"Because there's a place for anyone in any field and I think it's important if you have a passion for it, to not let the idea that it's mostly male dominated to let that stop you.  Because doing what you love and that you're good at is so much more important than letting someone stop you," she said.

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