Thursday, April 18, 2019 | West Valley Junior High School at Amazon

The West Valley Junior High and High School IGNITE girls went on a field trip to Amazon in Seattle! The 27 students got an early start and met up at the Junior High, and along with a parent chaperone/teacher in the District (Mrs. Arin Lee), Mrs. Khan and Mrs. Leaverton (Chapter Advisors) and Ms. Bartel (School Counselor), set off on our District’s first ever trip to this global Tech giant’s new building in Seattle downtown.

The event started out with a warm welcome at the registration desk where all the attendees received badges. During our walk towards the elevators through the building, the girls experienced the work culture at Amazon where employees are allowed to bring in pets and partake in casual conversations and enjoy meals and snacks that are readily available. A lot of stereotypes about the tech work environment were laid to rest during the short trip up to the 4th floor!

The main activity of the day was a small group workshop on the phases of product development. Students were taken through the process of building and modifying products such as the ever popular Kindles and Alexas where they received valuable mentorship by Amazon professionals! The girls went through each phase, brainstormed ideas and developed a plan to address common product flaws and issues, and service the needs of the client. They ended the session with a brief presentation by a couple of students in each group. The activity was not just an experience in understanding a vital product development process but also a doorway to the vast array of job possibilities in STEM fields.

After a fulfilling lunch, the students were introduced to a panel of professional women who work at Amazon in different roles. These ladies, Diana Antczak, Nicole Michaud, Melissa Mackie, Karen Albrecht, Elizabeth Mansfield and Sara Stille, who came from a variety of backgrounds, shared their stories and inspired the girls to consider taking STEM courses and gave them valuable insights on the job market and what is trending.

They talked about how they continue to pursue their passions and hobbies while enjoying successful careers at Amazon. Some key topics included mindset, self confidence, picking out courses and internships, and students were encouraged review different company profiles and their missions when searching for jobs. The students asked several questions and came back feeling inspired!

On behalf of West Valley School District, Yakima, we would like to thank Amazon and IGNITE Worldwide for this great field trip opportunity!

 

After attending this event:

69%

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

100%

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

92%

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

Here's what the students enjoyed most:

"I enjoyed learning about the different women's personal stories, I loved their advice for remembering that it's okay to not succeed sometimes, and that people will tell you that you can't do it, but you can!"

- 9th grade

 

"I enjoyed what they told us that we don't have to know what we want to do or study now. I was inspired by all of the different paths that you can take to get a STEM career!"

- 9th grade

 

 

"I liked how we got to learn how companies release products, from an idea to a physical thing. The women on the panel inspired me to keep going when I fail and pursue my passions."

- 7th grade

 

"The product design challenge, it was inspiring to see how a product is designed from start to finish."

- 8th grade

 

 

"I enjoyed getting to be in a group with one of the women (Diana), and learning about their pathways. I feel better knowing that I can have a job outside of my degree. I'm inspired to continue with my plans because of their experiences of being unsure."

- 9th grade

 

"I enjoyed the panel and loved the activity where we looked at products and in small groups came up with ideas to make the products better."

- 7th grade

 

 

"I found it interesting that writing was so involved in technology."

- 7th grade

 

"I liked how we got to experiment with the products and test out what they could do."

- 8th grade

 

 

"I enjoyed the workshop because we got to create our own product and see the process each product goes through."

- 8th grade

 

"I loved the workshop. Our ideas were really something that I wanted in Amazon's Alexa, and it was very inspiring."

- 8th grade

 

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