IGNITE Panel at West Valley Jr. High

We had a fabulous presentation at the West Valley Junior High School on December 4, 2017. This was the first event featuring a guest speaker at an IGNITE session. Amanda Hede is a Design Engineer at Triumph Actuation Systems in Yakima, and is an official volunteer for IGNITE Worldwide. She is passionate about her engineering career and helping other girls achieve success in STEM fields.

Amanda shared her story on how she struggled in Math as a middle-schooler but took a challenge upon herself to overcome her fears and ended up in an engineering course where she was one of very few female students. While she thought it was a bit awkward to be a female minority, she did not let that fact come in the way of her goals. She currently works for a company that has about 12% women in engineering roles but she is a confident and skilled engineer and does not feel that her gender is a roadblock to success. She told the IGNITE girls that confidence is a mindset and though one may feel intimidated being a girl in a male dominated industry, genders do not define efficiency. “A girl can do anything she sets her mind to do,” she said.

Amanda’s story inspired students in many ways but one of the highlights was that Amanda is on the team that designs holdback bars (a device that is used to hold aircrafts in place just prior to launching them with a catapult) that is now displayed in several museums across the the nation. We are very fortunate to have heard Amanda’s story on her STEM journey and accomplishments. Our girls are truly inspired by the enthusiasm and her message.


Feedback from students:

  • I enjoyed getting to hear firsthand from a mechanical engineer, and this has inspired me because now I know what one type of career is out there that relates to engineering.
  • I was impressed with how she broke the gender barrier.
  • I liked the stories she told, and I really liked learning about the units she designs and that all USA’s holdback bars are manufactured in Yakima. It is inspiring to know that she is one of the few women in this industry.