The Center School at GeekWire

On Friday, May 11th, twenty girls from The Center School visited GeekWire on an engaging IGNITE field trip to learn about journalism and STEM careers.  Cara Kuhlam, Operations & Event/Marketing Director, warmly greeted our students and gave them a tour around their vibrant office in Fremont.


John Cook, Co-Founder of GeekWire, shared his story of leaving the Seattle Post Intelligencer paper to launch this innovative journalism company focused on publishing breaking news in the technology sector.  He emphasized the courage it took to follow his instincts and advised our students to “not wait” if they also dream of starting a company.  He also shared his strategy of growing the company organically in response to revenues vs. bringing in multiple outside investors, and some of the creative approaches GeekWire uses such as the elevator pitch for new tech ideas using the Space Needle elevator ride as the setting.


After this event:


reported the experience continued or expanded their interest in STEM fields

of girls are inspired to study harder to attend college and further their education


Then a team of GeekWire reporters and business staff including Monica Nickelsburg, Clare McGrane, Lisa Stiffler and Jessica Arnesen, facilitated a fun, interactive activity with our students focused on dilemmas they encounter working as journalists of the tech industry.  For example, how do you report a breaking story objectively of a GeekWire sponsor company?

Students brainstormed solutions and identified elements of solid reporting including checking sources, developing connections, knowing the tech field, writing well, being timely and staying objective.

GeekWire staff generously coached the students through the different scenarios and shared their own experiences and lessons learned.  Students concluded the activity by creating displays of possible solutions and sharing out what they learned to the whole group. 

After a delicious lunch of pizza, students met Starla Sampaco, TLDR, to tour GeekWire’s video production studio and to learn about the process she oversees creating and publishing short video recaps of top GeekWire news each day.  From identifying news highlights, to writing the script, to taping the video, to editing the final version--Starla does it all.  Starla emphasized the importance of having up-to-date video production and graphic skills to our Center School girls as they plan their careers.

Finally, GeekWire staff shared their own career journeys with Center School students in a question and answer panel.  Themes that emerged included following your passions, being OK with “not knowing what you want to do yet,” working with friendly co-workers on a team you like and admire, working very hard to become an expert in one area and getting involved in internships with STEM and journalism companies.

Highlights from The Center School student comments:

  • I am inspired to expand my options for possible career paths.
  • I really enjoyed the journalism activity we did where we practiced thinking through the steps to report a story. This event sparked my interest in journalism again and entrepreneur potentials.
  • It showed me how you can mix your hobbies with a job.
  • I enjoyed learning how they choose GeekWire as their job and am inspired to be involved with film as a career choice.
  • I value the advice we got from everyone at GeekWire!
  • I liked learning how to start my own business.
  • It was fun!

Thank you GeekWire and IGNITE for inspiring The Center School students!