October 18, 2019 | IGNITE Panel at Thomas Jefferson High School | by Joy Dickson

On Oct. 18, the Thomas Jefferson High School IGNITE Chapter welcomed four IGNITE Panel speakers. Sixteen female students had the opportunity to learn how important it is for more women to go into the Technology and STEM Fields. The students learned that these careers are in high demand and companies want to hire them!  The speakers shared their journeys to where they are now and their challenges along the way.

Panelists included Viv Liao and India Buckley from Microsoft, Leslie Reed from Google Cloud and Aditi Saluja from T-Mobile.

Over the course of about 2 hours, the panelists shared their stories about their education, failures, challenges, success and steps they have taken to get to where they are today.  The students were intrigued and loved listening to the stories. They learned not only about the women’s careers, but also about navigating your career as a woman. Students had the opportunity to ask questions, and the panelists sat with students and ate pizza and chatted.

Students left the panel excited to learn more and with a sense of “Why not me?!”  It is so refreshing to see the excitement and renewed confidence that these events create. 

I would like to sincerely say “Thank you” to Viv Liao, India Buckley, Leslie Reed and Aditi Saluja for taking the time to not only encourage, but also listen to our students. You all had an impact on our students and have inspired them to continue to pursue their dreams, no matter what it takes. 

Students commented that they were inspired to:

  • TAKE UP SPACE!
  • Start creating my own profile
  • Try new things/take interesting classes
  • Make eye contact and work on verbal communication skills
  • Find an internship (hopefully paid) this summer

 

After attending this event:

94%

of girls/non-binary students are more interested in STEM!

88%

of girls/non-binary students want to study harder to attend college and further their education

88%

of girls/non-binary students want to continue attending IGNITE events

63%

of girls/non-binary students want to investigate taking a STEM related course next semester

69%

of girls/non-binary students want to ask a teacher about additional STEM activities

Here's what the students enjoyed most:

"I loved how I learned more about how to network and how they said to always be confident in yourself and to take up space! I really loved this event."

- 12th grade

 

"Hearing about real experiences women have had in both technological workplaces and in college preparing to enter them. I heard a lot of good advice on how to build confidence to meet your career goals."

- 12th grade

 

"Their stories inspired me to not be afraid to try new things."

- 9th grade

 

"It made me learn that it's all about making connections and learning from your experiences. This inspired me to explore deeper in STEM! This was the best panel I've been to and this helped me in many ways!"

- 10th grade

 

"It's not about the prior knowledge when it comes to STEM, but the effort you put in to get involved."

- 12th grade

 

"I enjoyed the insight the women gave us into the workplace and the different jobs in STEM and CS."

- 12th grade

 

"I learned why [tech is] great and how it's good for girls."

- 12th grade

 

"I enjoyed learning about everything. I was inspired by the women's enthusiasm."

- 11th grade

 

"The tips for college and making it through college was super super helpful!"

- 10th grade

 

"I loved knowing more and gaining information. I have more of an idea of what I am going to do. I loved it, really inspiring!!!"

- 9th grade

 

"They were very thorough in their responses to our questions. I really enjoyed the one-on-one talks with the speakers."

- 11th grade

 

"The diversity of the panelists. They are all so different and amazing in their own ways. It was great. One of the best I have been to."

- 12th grade

 

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