Smith plans to attend either MIT or the University of Michigan this fall to study computer science. She hopes someday to work in research and development. She said her dream job right now would be to work with Space X, an aerospace company that is involved in planning space travel and exploration.
“What makes it (computer science) appealing to me is that it combines my love of analytical thinking with creative problem solving,” said Smith. “It blends the two together and puts all the pieces together for me.”
Smith has taken AP computer science courses at Thornapple Kellogg High School and on-line classes from Northwestern University including a game design class.
Smith said computer science is something she’s been interested in her entire life. Her parents, Douglas and Beth Smith, are both professionals in the computer science field.
“I’ve grown up with it around all the time,” she said.
To be considered for the award, Smith had to receive a teacher recommendation. TK teacher Donna von der Hoff was more than willing, she said, to write that recommendation. “It’s well deserved. Very rarely do you have someone who is analytical with creativity as well. She’s the whole package,” she said of Smith.
Aspirations in Computing was designed to increase women’s participation in what is still a predominantly male profession. The awards help encourage and motivate young women to pursue careers and goals in computer science. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, leadership, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.
Smith received her award at a special celebration at Michigan State University. While there, she heard from the keynote speaker Sue Buck, vice president of product development for Vertafore. “I just was able to hear a bunch of stories from women who are passionate about computer science and who want to help inspire other young women in this field,” Smith said.
Smith is also active in the TK jazz band and theater programs, recently performing in the spring musical “Oklahoma!” She also plays violin in the Grand Rapids youth Symphony.