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A Hidden Valley High School Senior from Roanoke, Virginia, has been recognized as a winner of the 2023-2024 ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize for High School Computing. This prestigious award acknowledges students who excel in computer science and take on challenges beyond the classroom. Franziska Borneff was selected as a winner based on her project focused on monitoring the flow rates of Arctic rivers, which play a critical role in detecting climate change and impacting ecosystems and livelihoods.

Motivated by news articles on climate change, Borneff delved into researching these rivers, identifying significant data points and trends related to air temperature, river discharge, and sea ice concentration. Through her research, she discovered that the Arctic rivers’ thaw dates were earlier than ever before, leading her to connect with students from the Yupik Eskimo Village in Alaska to understand the local community’s challenges due to the changing climate.

With a desire to raise awareness and stimulate further research on Arctic regions, Borneff hopes her project will draw attention to the pressing issue of climate change. As part of her award, she received $10,000 in financial aid to support her university education in the fall. Borneff will be formally recognized at the Computer Science Teachers Association’s 2024 Annual Conference in Las Vegas in July. This achievement highlights her dedication to using computer science to address real-world challenges and contribute positively to the field.

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