By Jon King /

A local high school student has been recognized for her efforts to break career boundaries.

The Michigan Department of Education on Thursday announced that 65 high school and 10 college students statewide were recipients of the 2021 Breaking Traditions Awards. The award recognizes students who have overcome obstacles and stereotypes to succeed in career and technical education programs considered non-traditional for their gender.

Among them is Junior Camryn Ihrke of Hartland High School, who is enrolled in the Computer Programmer Program and will receive a Certificate of Recognition. According to a press release from the state education department, Ihrke and the other recipients are ”breaking traditions” by pursuing careers in which fewer than 25 percent of persons working in that field are their gender.

Anne Hasseld, Hartland High school’s Computer Science Teacher, says Ihrke is one of the top students in the Computer Science program, which includes two Advanced Placement courses: AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science. Ihrke is also president of the Hartland Women In Technology Club, and has been a member since she was in 7th grade. She has also been involved in Hartland Robotics for several years. Hasseld says Camryn “definitely” plans to go into the Computer Science field.

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said all of the students are “role models for their peers who may be considering similar career paths,” and that “Michigan benefits from the Breaking Traditions Award recipients through an increasingly diverse workforce necessary to meet the challenges of a 21st-century economy and to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Applicants for the award provided two letters of support and wrote a brief narrative explaining their career obstacles faced and key accomplishments.