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How did IGNITE get started?

IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and is an award‐winning State and National Best Practice program. IGNITE introduces girls in grades 6‐12 to technology and engineering careers via: IGNITE Panel Presentations, field trips to local companies and colleges, programming workshops, robotics workshops, job shadows and more. IGNITE is during the school day and is managed by teachers, at the school. Girls are encouraged to take Computer Science and Engineering classes while they are in middle and high school. IGNITE partners with schools so that girls can get the support and encouragement they need to pursue these career paths. By reaching into K-12 education, we are affecting change at the right time for girls to understand their career choices before they start the next phase of their education.


STEM careers are the fastest growing careers in our country, and women need equal representation.  The latest (2014-2015) STEM statistics show women remain underrepresented in both Engineering and Technology degrees and careers. While women receive over half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they receive far fewer in the computer sciences (18.2%), engineering (19.2%), physics (19.1%), and mathematics and statistics (43.1%) (NSF, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015). Women remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering (13%) and computer and mathematical sciences (25%) (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2014).


Why do we need more girls in STEM?

There are 3 primary reasons why we need girls in STEM jobs.

1. There are an estimated 1.4M U.S. technology jobs available by 2020, and with the current graduation rates in STEM careers - the US will only fill about 30% of those jobs. We need women in technology careers to help fill that gap!

2. Technical innovation requires diversity. A diverse workforce leads to better products for diverse users. When women are not involved in the design of products, needs and desires unique to women may be overlooked. Analysts say that more women are needed in research to increase the range of inventions and breakthroughs that come from looking at problems differently than men typically do. Diversity ensures better products for the entire population, and thus higher profits for those companies that employ a more diverse population.

3. According to the US Department of Commerce, computing jobs are the fastest growing and highest paying (paying more than $15K on average), with fewer women benefiting from these jobs. STEM careers will enhance girls futures and reduce social inequalities.

Young girls are not receiving the education and information necessary to want to choose STEM careers. IGNITE breaks down barriers for girls by providing women role models, so girls can see that women have done it before them. Professional women in STEM careers share their stories with IGNITE girls: including stories of hardships and obstacles they have overcome to be successful, so girls can see a path to any dream they have. Girls need an intervention to feel the confidence in themselves to pursue these career choices.

How does IGNITE work?

  • Teachers are trained to become chapter leaders for a school.
  • We support chapter leaders in organizing panel discussions, field trips, and job shadows during the school year.
  • Professional women in STEM careers volunteer and share their knowledge and experience.
  • Girls participate in chapter events and get inspired.
  • Supporters and corporate sponsors make it all possible.


IGNITE Programs

Panel Discussions

    Women in STEM careers visit the girls during a panel discussion to tell their stories of how they pursued their careers and can help the girls see what’s possible. The girls are inspired by hearing stories they can relate to help them plan their future careers.

Field Trips

    Field trips to corporations are held during the school day to introduce girls to how women use and advance technology daily in their work and show the many different types of STEM careers that one company can have. Field trips to community college and universities also highlight the STEM major programs, talks by professors and professional women.

Programming or Interactive Workshops

    Corporate and College field trips usually include at least one interactive workshop for the girls that can include programming or brainstorming or design activities. Sometimes these classes are also held at the school sponsored by a corporation.

Job Shadow

    Girls visit a business workplace for 3-4 hours and shadow a mentor who shows them how they work, from sitting in on team collaboration meetings to pair- programming and a Q&A session.

Cathi Rodgveller, M.S.  ED

IGNITE CEO and Founder

Larisa Goldin

IGNITE Board President  

unnamedRaelene Sanders

IGNITE Board Treasurer

Secretary for the NAPE Education Foundation Board

Manisha Arora

IGNITE Board Vice President

IGNITE Board Secretary

Elizabeth Dewar

IGNITE Program Manager & Executive Assistant

Amber Zertuche

IGNITE Regional Director of San Francisco 

Julie Averill

IGNITE Strategic Advisor  

Ana Nicacio

IGNITE Advisory Board Member


Holly Muenchow

IGNITE Advisory Board Member

Jhileah Jackson

IGNITE Advisory Board Member IGNITE Alumni

Marianne Marck

IGNITE Advisory Board Member    

Lori Longthorne

IGNITE Advisory Board Member


Kelly Elston

IGNITE Advisory Board Member IGNITE Alumni  

Uma Maheswari Anbazhagan

IGNITE Advisory Board Member


Dr. Cheryl Ingram

IGNITE Advisory Board Member    

Logan McKenzie 

IGNITE Advisory Board Member IGNITE Alumni

Anna Beyder

IGNITE Advisory Board Member

Shaude' Moore

IGNITE Advisory Board Member

Liz Bander

IGNITE Advisory Board Member

Shigeko Calos-Nakano

IGNITE Advisory Board Member IGNITE Alumni  

Tom Hall

IGNITE Advisory Board Member  

Danielle Bartoletti

IGNITE Advisory Board Member

IGNITE Impact Report 2016- 2017 SCHOOL YEAR

Why does IGNITE exist?

IGNITE Impact Report 2015-16 School Year

  • Since 1999, IGNITE has educated and empowered over 30,000 young women in middle school and high school grades to pursue education and careers in STEM
  • In the Seattle School District alone, female participation in technology classes soared from 10% to 50% immediately after girls attended their first IGNITE event.
  • IGNITE has 41 chapters across the United States and international chapters in Nigeria and Uganda.

Copy of IGNITE Chapters

School DistrictName
Bellevue School DistrictChinook Middle School
Bellevue School DistrictTillicum Middle School
Bethel School DistrictBethel High School
Bethel School DistrictSpanaway Lake High School
Bethel School DistrictGraham-Kapowsin High School
Clover Park School DistrictClover Park High School
Everett School District
Federal Way Public schoolsThomas Jefferson High School
Federal Way Public schoolsDecatur High School
Federal Way Public schoolsSacajawea Middle School
Federal Way Public schoolsLakota Middle School
Federal Way Public schoolsTruman High School
Federal Way Public schoolsTodd Beamer High School
Federal Way Public schoolsFederal Way High School
Federal Way Public schoolsTruman Open Doors High School
Fife School DistrictColumbia Jr. High School
Fife School DistrictFife High School
Highline Public SchoolsWaskowitz Outdoor School & Waskowitz Environmental Leadership School (WELS)
Highline Public SchoolsTyee HS
Highline Public SchoolsHighline Public Schools
Highline Public SchoolsEvergreen HS
Highline Public SchoolsHighline High School
Highline Public SchoolsMount Rainier High School
Kent School DistrictKentwood High School
Kent School DistrictKentridge High School
Marysville School DistrictMountain View High School
Nigeria ChaptersKatsina
Nigeria ChaptersHanniel Synerg, Lagos
Polish Chapter
Rwanda ChapterMinduc Groupe Scolaire Rutonde
San Francisco Unified School DistrictPhillip and Sala Burton High School
San Francisco Unified School DistrictMission High School
San Francisco Unified School DistrictWashington High School
San Francisco Unified School DistrictWallenburg High School
Seattle Public SchoolsFranklin High School
Seattle Public SchoolsBallard High School
Seattle Public SchoolsSeattle Central Community College
Seattle Public SchoolsGarfield High School
Seattle Public SchoolsSouth Lake High School
Seattle Public SchoolsBroadview – Thomson Middle School
Seattle Public SchoolsRainier Beach High School
Seattle Public SchoolsRoosevelt High School
Seattle Public SchoolsCleveland High School
Seattle Public SchoolsAki Rose MS
Seattle Public SchoolsIngraham High School
Seattle Public SchoolsNathan Hale High School
Seattle Public SchoolsChief Sealth High School
Seattle Public SchoolsSouth Shore MS
Seattle Public SchoolsThe Center School
Seattle Public SchoolsMiddle College High School
Seattle Public SchoolsEckstein Middle School
Seattle Public SchoolsSeattle World School
Shoreline School DistrictShorewood High School
Tacoma School DistrictLincoln High School
Tacoma School DistrictWilson High School
Uganda ChapterApoolo Na Angor
Uganda ChapterWomen and Girls of Victory
Uruguay Chapter
West Valley School DistrictWest Valley Junior High School

IGNITE Awards & Recognition

We are proud to have received national and international recognition for the IGNITE program. The awards we have been honored with are a reflection of the significant impact this program has had on thousands of girls. Since 1999, the program has touched many lives; from the individual volunteers, corporate sponsors, district staff, and most importantly our 25,000+ IGNITE girls.

KIRO 7 News Interview with Cathi Rodgveller
KIRO 7 News
Cathi Rodgveller on WIT Panel
USA Today Article on IGNITE Teaching for the Future: Steering Girls to Science Gender Equity Award 2002 Cisco
Unsung Hero Award 2014 National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) CenturyLink Service Award2013 CenturyLink
Social Impact Award 2012 Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award 2009 Women eNews
ACTE Article Igniting Women’s Passion For Careers in Stem World of Difference Award 2011 The International Alliance for Women
Programs and Practices that Work Award 2007 National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) Seattle Times Article IGNITE Group Introduces Teenage Girls to High-Tech

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