IGNITE Presentation at Sealth High School

On Wednesday, IGNITE girls from Sealth High School heard from a panel of amazing women at their first IGNITE event of 2012! The Presentation was hosted by DeAira Handugan, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Sealth. DeAira is a rock star IGNITE teacher. She made sure we had a great turnout at the event, so as many girls as possible could ask questions of the volunteers. We are beyond fortunate to have her as an IGNITE Teacher, advocating for the program and for her many lucky students!

A day with Sealth High School

A huge thank you goes out as well to Sealth Librarian Edith Ruby, who was so helpful to us in setting up the space where the event was held, procuring a projector and white board, organizing the girls and helping with food prep. She made the event such a breeze logistically, so the girls had the best experience possible. Edith, we are indebted you- thanks!

Many girls in attendance were familiar with IGNITE and had heard from inspiring volunteers in past years, while others were experiencing face to face interaction with women in STEM industries for the first time. It was an inspiring and thought provoking event! For example, Sealth is offering its first Computer Science class this spring, and many of the girls at the Presentation were excited to enroll is the class following the event. This is great news, since Computer Science classes are often filled mostly with boys, if they are offered at all.

What a great panel we had on Wednesday. An enormous thank you goes out to the professionals who took time out of their busy days to share their story with girls. You all were so fun to listen to, so passionate and exciting. You really resonated with the students, as demonstrated by their interest in continuing the conversation post-event! Thank you to Marta Smith, a Senior Software Design Engineer at Western Digital, Shelley Tran, a Strategic Planner at Boeing, Jacinda Chislum, who works in Microsoft’s Human Resources Department and runs Digigirlz, Madonna Mayor, an IT Operations Engineer with Microsoft, and Margaux Eng, a Technical Program Manager with Amazon. Volunteers, thank you for your stories and inspiration- we are so grateful!

The girls asked some great questions of the panelists, like whether it was a benefit or detriment to be one of the few girls applying to a male dominated college or major. The resounding answer was that being a woman pursuing a STEM career is an advantage in many ways– girls just have to seize the opportunity! The panelists also discussed how important it is to not take “no” for an answer when pursuing something you really want, such as a particular skill, or a job. Instead, Marta reminded everyone, advocate for yourself and believe in your abilities!

It was a great event, with many important messages to take away! Thank you so much to all involved.

Here are the comments from the girls’ evaluation sheets:

  • I liked hearing about how the women engineers got to be where they are.
  • I liked hearing everyone’s experience and how they got involved with their jobs.
  • The speakers were nice and were honest about their experiences.
  • I liked to hear that you didn’t necessarily need to do really well in school.
  • Everyone had an amazing story.
  • There are so many workshops and opportunities available to me.
  • One of the most interesting things I heard today was about how you don’t need a lot of math to be successful.
  • The speakers talked about how you don’t have to do amazing in high school to get a good technical career.
  • I liked how much information the speakers gave.
  • I liked learning about jobs that I’d never heard about.
  • It was great to hear all about the wonderful programs that are available to us. I would love to job shadow and start a summer internship.
  • I liked hearing from strong women.
  • The speakers were really inspiring.
  • The most interesting thing that I heard today was that these career fields do not revolve around math and that it’s more logic based.
  • I like the different jobs they offer in engineering and how the women shared their experiences.
  • High school does not define who you are or the life you will lead.
  • I liked how the speakers talked about their personal life prior to being in a particular field of study.
  • I liked learning about all the careers that give lots of opportunities for girls like me.
  • Even though some of the presenters got D’s and E’s, they still did what they wanted to. I loved this meeting so much! Thank you!
  • I liked that the speakers tried to encourage young women to become engineers. They really gave details and gave their experience.
  • Madonna works with 15 guys in her team and is still good at her job.
  • I liked the diversity of women.
  • Most interesting thing I learned was the amount of female workers in these fields is low, so we should do something about it.
  • The most interesting thing I learned today is that there aren’t astronauts anymore.
  • I liked how there are many opportunities for students to train with Microsoft.
  • It was cool how the speakers explained their past school experiences (bad at math, intimidated, etc).
  • I liked that lots of engineering is based on logic, not math.
  • Listening to the women speak is always the best.
  • I liked learning programs that could really benefit me in my learning career and actual job. Also, talking with women with technical jobs.
  • I liked that the women are supported in taking their fields.
  • I liked how all of the speakers had really different stories.
  • I liked how we can be doing business in social media.
  • We got to see the struggles and successes of all these brave women that took that first step.
  • All the different stories the women told about how they got to the place they are now…Very inspiring.
  • The best thing about today’s event was the stories told from the young ladies and how they relate to me. Also, knowing that I can excel in a job with many opportunities.

What a great day at Sealth! Thanks, everyone, for your support and hard work.

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