Lowell High School Kick Off Event

We had a stellar time at the Women in STEM Panel held at our high school, Lowell, last week. With IGNITE’s help, we were able to organize a strong panel of 6 women in STEM professions. Field trip forms excused girls from their classes, allowing them to devote a full two hours to the panel. The women presented during the first half of the event, introducing themselves and sharing stories of their journeys into STEM. As the panel progressed, many of the women were amazed by the differences between their stories. These differences allowed the girls to gain perspective and feel more confident about pursuing careers in STEM. The following Q&A was also extremely successful, with many of the girls approaching panelists even after the event had ended. This panel would not have been possible without the support of IGNITE and Lowell staff.

Thank you to Mirji Campolongo, the Lowell Theater Tech coordinator, who graciously granted us use of the Carol Channing Auditorium, as well as access to the sound system, projector, and microphones. Your commitment to ensuring the panel ran smoothly, even training one of our members to operate the sound and lighting booth, was extraordinary.

Thank you to the Lowell security staff, who helped set up and clean up the food.

Thank you to Assistant Principal Orlando Beltran, who helped coordinate with the school and provide tables for the food.

Thank you to Amber Zertuche, the IGNITE Regional Director who guided us through the process of hosting a WiSTEM panel. Your help was invaluable.

Finally, thank you to our panelists, who made the panel an extraordinary experience. Your stories inspired the girls and left them in awe of the experiences a STEM career can provide. You had a profound impact on the girls, a feat that was heartwarming to observe. Thank you to Katie Hanss- Product Manager, Dropbox; Nuri Kim- Senior Product Designer, UBER; Jeannice Samari- CEO Professor, Santa Clara University; Misty Kuhn- Asst Professor of Chem/Biochem, SFSU; Imelda Mangubat- Chief Stationary Engineer, SFPUC; Jamie Schwarzbach- Synthetic Biology Program Management, Twist Bioscience; Sabine De Brabandere- Particle Physicist Researcher, CERN.


Thank you to everyone who made this event possible!




Lowell High School Robotics Club Member





After this event:


Comments from the Girls:


“I was inspired by learning about how the women got to this point of their life. Some have struggled with self confidence while studying their STEM degree and talked about how they got through it which inspired me.” – Grade 12


“I was inspired how even though some panelists were the only women in their field, and some even come from different countries, they still stayed strong and kept on doing what they love which is STEM.” – Grade 9


“I enjoyed all the advice from the panelists. Since all of them face challenges and were not all immediately successful, it reassured me that you don’t have to excel in something to enjoy a subject. I was also encouraged to explore new subjects and to go outside of my comfort zone.” – Grade 12


“The panelists were all very relatable and they described their hardships and struggles as well as their successes. It helped me with the idea that “paths are not linear”.” – Grade 10


“I enjoyed hearing from people in the field since it gave me a better idea of how STEM works/how to work to get into it.” – Grade 9


“There are so many options in the STEM field and it’s not just a linear path.” – Grade 12


“Dr. Samani was amazing! This event inspired me to continue my path into STEM.” – Grade 12


“I like how each presenter shared their stories and advice. I also like how there was a lot of diversity within the women here. I also like how we heard from an immigrant and also someone successful who went to city college. It made me a little less stressed. I also like how we heard about people like us whose paths change.” – Grade 11


“Not all paths are linear. Interests can lead from unexpected subjects. This inspired me to try Physics and Computer Science.” – Grade 12


“I enjoyed learning about all the challenges the panelists faced and how they overcame them. It inspired me to keep pursuing what I want to do even though I’m not the best at it right now.” – Grade 11


“I was inspired by the descriptions of different fields of STEM that brought new perspectives of the importance of science and technology in this world.” – Grade 9


“It inspired me to look into robotics, engineering, something I had not considered as a career path for myself before.” – Grade 11


“This inspired me to try taking courses outside my interest next year (ex. Physics) since I’ve always deemed it as too much math.” – Grade 11