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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.
Table of chapters with links to their events as available

IGNITE Chapters

School DistrictNameChapter LeaderContact Information
Bellevue School DistrictChinook Middle School Larry Mathews, STEM Instructor2001 98th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Bellevue School DistrictTillicum Middle School 16020 SE 16th St
Bellevue, WA 98008
Bethel School DistrictBethel High School 22215 38th Ave E
Spanaway, WA 98387
Bethel School DistrictGraham-Kapowsin High School
Bethel School DistrictSpanaway Lake High School 1305 168th St E
Spanaway, WA 98387
Clover Park School DistrictClover Park High School11023 Gravelly Lake Dr SW
Tacoma, WA 98499
Highline Public SchoolsHealth Sciences & Human Services High School (HS3)
Highline Public SchoolsWaskowitz Outdoor School & Waskowitz Environmental Leadership School (WELS)
Highline Public SchoolsHighline High School Sydney Williams
225 S. 152nd
Burien, WA 98148
ph: (206) 631-6700
email: Sydney.Williams@highlineschools.org
Highline Public SchoolsHighline Public SchoolsJulie Burr, Career Access Manager15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW
Burien, WA 98166
(206) 631-3171
Highline Public SchoolsGlobal Connections4424 South 188th Street
SeaTac, WA 98188
Highline Public SchoolsNew Start
Highline Public SchoolsEvergreenRoderick Booker
College and Career Specialist
30 SW 116th
Seattle, WA 98146
Highline Public SchoolsChoice Academy18367 8th Ave S
Des Moines, WA 98148
Highline Public SchoolsBig Picture Learning440 South 186th Street
Burien, WA 98148
Highline Public SchoolsArts & Academics Academy830 SW 116th St
Seattle, WA 98146
Highline Public SchoolsAcademy of Citizenship & Empowerment (ACE)4424 South 188th Street
SeaTac, WA 98188
Highline Public SchoolsRaisbeck Aviation
Highline Public SchoolsPuget Sound Skills Center (PSSC)
Highline Public SchoolsTyee CampusKarly Feria 4424 S 188th St; Seattle, Washington 98188
Highline Public SchoolsTechnology, Engineering & Communications High School (TEC)
Highline Public SchoolsMount Rainer High School Sara Baker
22450 19th Ave S
Des Moines, WA 98198
ph: 206-631-7000
email: Sara.Baker@highlineschools.org
Marysville School DistrictMountain View High School4317 76th St NE
Marysville, WA 98270
(360) 653-0628
Nigeria ChaptersKatsinaAbdulraheem AbdulhakeemNassarawa, Kwado, Behind Teachers’ house, Katsina
Nigeria ChaptersHanniel Synerg, Lagos
Rwanda ChapterMinduc Groupe Scolaire RutondeDonatha Gihana, Founder/ Director
KG 626 Street, House No.7
P.O Box 1637
Kigali, Rwanda
San Francisco Unified School DistrictMission High SchoolRebecca Fulop, Biology Teacher3750 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 241-6240
San Francisco Unified School District Burton High SchoolNormita Balangue, Physics Teacher400 Mansell St, San Francisco, CA 94134
Seattle School DistrictBallard High School Julie Chapman
School Counselor
1418 NW 65th Street
Seattle, WA 98117
Seattle School DistrictFranklin High School
Seattle School DistrictRoosevelt High School1410 NE 66th St
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 252-4810
Seattle School DistrictRainier Beach High School8815 S Seward Park Ave
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 252-6350
Seattle School DistrictBroadview – Thomson Middle School13052 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98133
(206) 252-4080
Seattle School DistrictSouth Lake High School8601 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 252-6600
Seattle School DistrictGarfield High School400 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 252-2270
Seattle School DistrictSeattle Central Community CollegeLisa Sandoval
1701 Broadway 2BE3176
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 934-5575
email: lisa.sandoval@seattlecolleges.edu
ph: 206-934-5575
Seattle School DistrictIngraham High School1819 N 135th St
Seattle, WA 98133
(206) 252-3880
Seattle School DistrictNathan Hale High School
Seattle School DistrictCleveland High School5511 15th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 252-7800
Seattle School DistrictChief Sealth High School2600 SW Thistle St
Seattle, WA 98126
(206) 252-8550
Seattle School DistrictSouth Shore K-84800 S Henderson St
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 252-7600
Seattle School DistrictMadison Middle School
Shoreline School DistrictShorecrest High School
Shoreline School DistrictShoreline Community College
Shoreline School DistrictShorewood High School
Uganda ChapterApoolo Na Angor
Uganda ChapterWomen and Girls of VictoryAidah Ssemmanda, Founder/DirectorKagulube Village, Mugoye Sub-County, Kalangala District
Polish Chapter
Uruguay ChapterCarla Pereira, Department of Scientific Culture
Board of Education

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.


USA Today Article on IGNITE
Teaching for the Future: Steering Girls to Science

Gender Equity Award 2002
Unsung Hero Award 2014
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
CenturyLink Service Award2013
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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