Garfield High School Presentation

We had a fabulous event at Garfield HS this week! It was such a great turnout, the room was packed full. The presenters were amazing. And the teacher is extraordinary. All of this equals  a resoundingly successful IGNITE event.

First, I want to thank the wonderful women from industry who took the time out of their busy workday to come and talk with high school girls about their careers and the journey to get there.

Each woman carefully told her story, including what she was like in high school, her path to how she choose her education after high school, the obstacles she faced and what she does today. All of the women shared her wisdom, things she wished she knew at their age, and why technology and engineering careers are so great for women. By the time all of the women spoke the girls were full of questions. WE could have been there for many hours, simply answering all of the interested girls and their excellent and insightful questions.

I want to thank the gifted women who presented.

Thank you to Fran Presley, first woman engineer ever hired at Fed Ex! She has a great story and  she put together a great ppt. She showed her Harley Davidson and all of the fun she is having being a women engineer.

Leah Melvoin, Senior Technical Program Manager-Developer Experience, Amazon. Leah has been at Amazon since there were about 10 employees. Maybe thats an exaggeration, but she has been there since the beginning. It was thrilling to hear her journey in that great company and her story to where she is today.

Laura Grit, Senior Technical Program Manager, Amazon. Laura had such a different story than Leah, and that is what makes this so great, the girls can see that many kinds of paths are successful.

Gina Findley, Graduate Student UW. Bioengineering. Gina shared her story of her path to school, and her journey to her choicesand pursuing a Ph. D. The variety of stories was amazing. The girls really got such a varied view that so many different paths can all be successful and that there are many ways to get there.

Thank you to a great teacher Mr Earl Berquist. He did a great presentation on all of the technology courses he offers and everything that Garfield HS has to offer girls who want to pursue their interest right now. I think he put together such a great template that girls can use to find what they want to choose regarding the technology offerings at Garfield. Earl is such a great teacher and cares so much that girls get involved in his classes and know all about their opportunities. We are so lucky to have him.

Here are the girls comments from their evaluation forms.

  • I like that the IGNITE program is actually inspiring people to do it, saying that you can do it. I could really relate to the women speaking and especially the last women who thought that she wanted to be a doctor but realized that there are many choices, it really made me think.
  • I enjoyed listening to all of the stories the women had to tell. I was so impressed that Fran was the first woman engineer hired at Fed Ex. Wow.
  • I really appreciate the chance to ask questions. The most interesting thing today was hearing the paths of the speakers.
  • I liked learning about all of the different career paths in Computer Science. I could really relate to Fran’s and Gina’s presentations.
  • I loved hearing all of the women’s stories about how they got into their fields. Very inspiring! I loved seeing that Fran drives a motorcycle! And more seriously, just how much of a demand there is for women in technical fields.
  • I loved hearing the women’s stories, it was great. I learned that no matter your struggles in life, you will succeed with hard work and dedication.
  • I loved the question and answer section, when they talked about finding what kind of engineering field they wanted to go into. I was really shocked to hear the percentage of women in technology and engineering.
  • I loved the food and the presenters.
  • I really loved hearing the women’s stories because of how inspiring they were. I thought it was interesting to hear about their lives, their education, everyone had in order to get to where they are now.
  • I liked learning about the different career paths. I also liked learning about the job shadow, and interning opportunities that IGNITE has to offer. It was really interesting to hear all of the different stories of how women got into the field of engineering and technology. It was really inspiring and I realized that a job in engineering is a realistic possibility.
  • I enjoyed hearing different perspectives of and seeing the varied means by which technology careers are obtained.
  • I thought that the college advice was very helpful. And I learned how much women are under represented in these careers.
  • I really enjoyed hearing each of the women’s stories and I really liked that they answered our questions. Leah’s story, and that she was successful, even if it was a different path.
  • I enjoyed hearing everyone’s personal experiences with computer science. All of the women’s stories were really interesting and some I really related to.
  • The best thing about today’s event was how they explained the difference between different types of careers in computer engineering. The most interesting thing I heard was that no matter what you do , just keep trying, and have passion.
  • I enjoyed listening to women who are directly involved in the technology industry, and the process that allows them to get where they are. It was interesting to learn about all of the different opportunities available, and the education/expectation required to succeed. It was good to know about the variety of jobs that exist.
  • Hearing the stories of each of the guest speakers and how they go to the career they are in. I learned that I do not have to be a math or science whiz, to get into one of these careers.
  • Listening to each women’s personal experience was super interesting. I loved hearing their stories.
  • Fran is really cool! I also liked Leah’s presentation. It was all really great.
  • I enjoyed hearing the women talk to us because they were passionate about what they did.

Thank you all for making this day possible.

Cathi Rodgveller M.S. Ed.

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