Phillip and Sala Burton HS at Lemnos Labs


We had an inspiring IGNITE field trip to Lemnos Labs, an innovative incubator for robotic hardware with 7 women in technology volunteers from robotic start ups with 17 San Francisco Philip and Sala Burton High School girls. Girls had a tour of the robotics lab. During this tour they saw socks that automatically detect temperature, a robot that washes dishes on an industrial scale, and a 3D printer that prints metal objects. Girls also invented their own robot around the theme of cleaning. Girls got into groups and brainstormed, designed, and did an elevator pitch for their own robot. One group did a robot that washed skyscraper windows and the other group thought of a dishwashing 20160317_112830(0)robot. After lunch, we had a panel of 3 volunteers from various robotic start ups. Each volunteer shared their career story and mentioned how they got to where they are today, what obstacles they had to overcome to get to where they are today, and spoke about their jobs and what they do every day.

The girls were able to ask questions and get a better understanding of various technology and engineering jobs are available to them, and how women chose their college majors and career paths. The girls loved the discussions and mentioned how inspired they were after the conversations.



Thank you to Linda Pouliot from Lemnos Labs for organizing multiple volunteers. Thank you to Jennifer Yip at Lemnos Labs for funding and arranging the food for the event.

Thank you to each of our IGNITE Volunteers, Randi Kofman from Dishcraft, Ran Ma from Siren Care, Lisa 20160317_123141Fetterman from Nomiku, Rosanna Myers of Carbon Robotics, Clement Gires of Camp Six Labs, and Deborah Schafer of Tempsync,. Each of these volunteers shared their stories with the girls, and it’s what makes this expe
rience so relevant and valuable. The girls relate to the volunteers and see how similar they are to them: they went through a lot of things, did not have it easy, and had to work hard, but triumphed because they never gave up. It’s an amazing message and one that changes these girls’ lives forever. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and answered questions with care and such thoughtfulness.


Here are the comments from the Student Evaluation surveys. The girls always say it best.

I enjoyed it when an engineer was talking about making a metal 3D printer. I also enjoyed it when three women were talking about how they started their companies. Grade 1020160317_104448

I want to invent a robot that does homework. I enjoyed imagining that we were in a business like this. Grade 9

I want to make things and robots that people would of never thought of. Grade 9

I really enjoyed listening to Lisa Fetterman’s journey. I really related to her interests and made me open my eyes to the idea of starting my own company out of passion. I also really enjoyed the panel and learning about people’s journeys and challenges. Grade 12

I enjoyed the panels of speakers talking about their career and how they built their careers. I also enjoyed listening to Lisa speak about her company and product. It was interesting listening to her talking about how she built her company. Grade 11

It was inspiring to eat pizza, create our own object to sell, talk to others about engineering and their jobs, and learn about start ups and what they went through. Grade 1220160317_095057

The speech by Lisa Fetterman was really cool. She was really relatable and her story was interesting. So was the story of the girl who designed socks for people with diabetes. The design challenge was fun too. Grade 12

I liked Lisa Fetterman. She was really honest and inspired me to study what I enjoy because eventually I will figure out what to pursue in life and as a career. Grade 12

I enjoyed how the three women spoke out on their journeys and how they were laughed at by going to big business. Grade 9

I enjoyed seeing the different things the workers invented, especially hearing the stories behind them because they were interesting and unique. Grade 920160317_110810

I liked the tour because it made me realize how there are so many things you can make. Grade 9

I enjoyed the part about the plates (that the robotic dishwasher picked up) and it made me more interested about engineering. Grade 9

A highlight I enjoyed today was the activity where we made up our own product. It gave us some time to be creative. Grade 11

I liked the engineers’ personal stories and how their companies were formed because they dissembled their hardships and struggles. They mentioned a lot about how difficult it was to get to where they are now but it was worth the journey because of the learning experience. Grade 12

I enjoyed learning the background of these engineers because some did not start out doing engineering or technology and now they work as an engineer or in a technology company. This shows that even if you’re passionate about something else you can use those passions to still be involved in something else. Grade 11

I liked hearing about the different stories and backgrounds about how each individual started. It was also interesting to see how everyone had different career paths or goals than just the job that they’re currently at. Grade 1120160317_113826

I liked the stories of how they started with almost nothing to what they are doing now. It had inspired me to keep following what I like and not give up on it even when it seems hard. Grade 11