Winning Women & Mighty Mentors


Show Notes

Hour 1

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Emily Morningstar, Linda Mitchell and Tonya Thomas

MCWT Honors Winning Women

Linda MitchellLinda Mitchell, Dir. of Cloud Sales and Devices, Microsoft Heartland Division and MCWT VP of Programs introduced two of the recent scholarship winners, Emily Morningstar and Tonya Thomas. Linda also talked about the wide range of MCWT programs like GET-IT programs in high school and annual Camp Infinity to encourage young women of all ages to embrace and pursue IT careers.  For more information on MCWT programs for young women click here.

Two Outstanding Winning Women

Emily Morningstar HeadshotEmily Morningstar graduated from high school in Canton, MI and plans to study computer science at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.  She won the $20,000 MCWT Foundation GET-IT Scholarship. Emily founded her school’s GET-IT club, served as its president and participated throughout all four years of high school. She was a finalist in MCWT’s Website Design Competition and a Robofest State Qualifier. She also was recognized as the national runner-up in the National Council of Women in Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. She served as a summer IT co-op for Mercedes Benz Financial Services.


Tonya Thomas HeadshotTonya Thomas is a multifaceted professional with 20+ years of experience in education leadership, instructional design, learning technologies, IT, training facilitation & performance support. She is currently Director, Staff Learning & Development, with Teach For America, where she oversees the effort to transform classroom-based staff training to web-based virtual learning and online “just-in-time” resources. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in educational technology at The University of Michigan – Dearborn.” Tonya won the President’s Graduate $15,000 Scholarship.

Click Here to Listen to MCWT Winners

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A Decade of Scholarships

The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation celebrated a decade of providing scholarships to technology-oriented women at its annual Scholarship Recognition and Partner Awards event on May 21. The nonprofit awarded a record 22 women with scholarships and laptops this year. The evening was made possible by a strong network of partner companies who support a diverse IT industry in Michigan. MCWT Foundation has contributed $725,000 to further the educational pursuits of 104 students throughout the past 10 years. 

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Click Here to Learn about MCWT Programs


 Mentors Matter


Jay and Xara Aho smallBy day Jay Aho is Senior Manager, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence at Delphi;  but he also has another very important job: role model and mentor for his daughter Xara (Ha-ra) who is entering the 6th grade.  This year she participated in Camp Infinity which was held on the University of Detroit Mercy campus. Jay joined a number of his colleagues from the prestigious Society for Information Management (SIM) at Camp Infinity to share his passion for IT and answer question from the participating girls.


Click Here to Listen to Jim and Xara Aho



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A Commitment to Mentoring

Given the importance mentoring plays in inspiring and growing women in IT, MCWT has paired seasoned IT leaders from its advisory board with this year’s scholarship winners for ongoing guidance throughout the recipients’ college education. The matchups demonstrate the organization’s lifecycle strategy.


Hour 2            Answering Listener Questions

“Remember: The only dumb question … is the one you don’t ask!”

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Ed Rudel, Bill Carver and Foster Braun

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