IGNITE Panel at Raoul Wallenberg HS

To inspire girls to sign up for Computer Science classes, on Tuesday, March 20th, Raoul Wallenberg High School hosted an inspiring Kick Off Panel with following 7 volunteers:

Jen Jillian, Designer at Credit Karma; Sarah Rutherford Carole, Product Designer at Dropbox; Rita DeRaedt, Designer at YouTube; Nan Chu, Director of Design at plays.tv; Amy Tang, Android Engineer at PlanGrid; Michelle Poon, Senior Product Manager at Adobe;  Frances Zlotnick, Senior Data Scientist at GitHub


The women told their stories of challenges they encountered in high school and college, what they learned, and their successes. They also shared what they love about their career today. Girls left inspired by the myriad opportunities taking a Computer Science class opens!


After the Panel:

of girls are more interested in STEM

of girls want to study harder to attend college and further their education





Thank you to Anita Rathi, Wallenberg High School’s IGNITE Teacher. This was her first event and she did a great job facilitating! It’s so important for girls to see that there are caring Computer Science teachers who go above and beyond to make such a memorable learning experience for them. Thank you to each of our IGNITE Volunteers. Each of these volunteers shared their stories with the girls, and it’s what makes this experience 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. The girls were inspired with the idea that the path to success is not a straight line! Thank you to the after school program teachers and student TAs who helped set up the projector, chairs, flyers, and food for the event.


Here are the comments from the Event Surveys. The girls always say it best.

  • I enjoyed hearing about how the speakers didn't plan on studying technology but still somehow found their way to doing what they love. - Grade 12
  • Them telling their story and explaining how they felt in high school and college made me wanna do more in life. - Grade 11
  • Listening to other's stories and experiences increased my interest in STEM. - Grade 10
  • I liked hearing about everyone's journeys and how they didn't know what they wanted to be in the start and turned out very successful. - Grade 10
  • The part that I enjoyed is when the people shared their stories. It inspired me because now I know that even if I struggle I'll get to something I like. - Grade 9
  • The story of each person inspired me to want to try new things. - Grade 10
  • Highlights were learning from people who work on the apps I know. It inspired me to not give up and follow my dreams, to keep working. - Grade 10
  • I loved everyone's stories. It was interesting to hear how they pursued their dreams. It made me think that I shouldn't give up the dream I had in elementary school. It is a very unstable dream, but I truly wish to pursue it even if I suffer. - Grade 10
  • Something which inspired me during the event is seeing how art can make an impact and be a part of the technology industry. - Grade 11
  • I have considered majoring in engineering and this has made things more reassuring that the path isn't always straightforward. - Grade 11
  • Rita's presentation was very inspirational. It made me open my mind a bit more about what I want to pursue in my career. - Grade 11
  • The stories inspired me to remember that success is not a straight line. - Grade 11
  • I enjoyed listening to all their experiences because it allows me to think about my possibilities in the future. I'm inspired to major in Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Computer Science/Accounting. - Grade 11

Looking forward to the next IGNITE event at Wallenberg!


Amber Zertuche
IGNITE Regional Director