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Annika Valerie Rift

Annika Valerie Rift

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

Future Plans: Become a professor and pursue a career in computer science research

Honored Faculty: Dr. Cathie Olschanowsky, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department and Principal Investigator of Adapt Lab

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship

Annika (Anna) Valerie Rift has always been fascinated by computers, and has experimented with code for a decade. That passion translated into a dedication to academics at Boise State University’s Computer Science Department. In their second semester, Anna began working as a tutor for a second year-level data structures course, and discovered the joy of talking about and collaborating on computing problems with others.

Soon after, they joined the Adapt Dataflow Optimizations Lab to work on more significant challenges. This work, which involves optimizing scientific programs run on supercomputers, quickly became the focal point of their academic experience at Boise State. During their time in the lab, Anna has contributed to multiple publications, presented at Boise State’s Research Computing Days, collaborated with teams from the University of Utah and the University of Arizona, and attended the International Workshop on Languages and Compilers for Parallel Computing. They also volunteered as a programming mentor for Boise State’s FIRST Robotics Team, The Chickadees.

Anna has been out as transgender since enrolling at Boise State, which has led to some unique challenges and increased isolation. Recognizing they weren’t alone in this experience, in Spring 2020, Anna and their partner Paisley founded the Queer STEM Club to create a community for themselves and other queer students in similar fields. After a slow start due to the pandemic, the club has been an enormous success, reaching more than 60 members and becoming one of the primary queer groups on campus. QSTEM helped Anna and many other students find their place in the STEM community at Boise State.

Anna Rift is from Boise, Idaho.

Meet other Top Ten Scholars.


What is a top ten scholar

Presented by the Boise State Alumni Association and Boise State Honors College, the Top Ten Scholar Award is one of the highest academic honors granted to a Boise State University undergraduate student. Each spring the recipients are recognized, along with their honored faculty, at the annual Top Ten Scholars Award Ceremony.

Meet Other Top Ten Scholars

Join the Celebration

Please join us for the 40th Anniversary of Boise State University’s Annual Top Ten Scholars Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. in the Stueckle Sky Center.

Top Ten Scholars alumni and their honored faculty are invited to a reunion reception at 3 p.m. in the Loft (5th floor of the Stueckle Sky Center).

Registration to attend in person is now closed. However, join us for the live stream!

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The Boise State Alumni Association connects, celebrates and engages alumni and friends of the University to build lifelong relationships that support the future of our University. As part of our guiding values, we as alumni and your association, support students through several scholarships managed by the alumni association. Become a scholarship donor to support future members of the Bronco Family.

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