Thursday, September 19, 2019 | Martin Luther King Jr and Everett Middle Schools at Zynga| by Demetric Strong, IGNITE Advisor and Sasha Anielski | Photos by Erin Beach Photography
On our trip to Zynga, we made our way to the headquarters and were greeted by our host at the door. Students received a name tag and badge which they were very excited about and then split into two groups. Each group received a brief tour of the headquarters and entered a tunnel that led through the building.
As we ventured through the dining area, we entered the downstairs lounge where students enjoyed playing games and enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks which was a big hit for Ignite students. This was a great start to our experience which helps rid some of the students' pre-meeting jitters.
In addition to exploring the lounge room we transitioned to the conference room and began our panel. Students were asked several questions about women and people of color working in tech and were shocked by the low numbers of women in the industry. Then the speakers began to tell their story and their journey into the industry. Students began to ask probing questions about their careers and what its like working at Zynga. The girls enjoyed time to ask questions, with many excited at the number of perks that come with working in a tech company like Zynga. They were really interested in the speaker who attended coding camp and received a job from attending a hiring fair. The girls also liked hearing about the different games Zynga is currently working on and the individual tasks that go into creating a game.
After students enjoyed the panel, then had lunch and mingled with several staff members in the office which created a unique opportunity to speak to different people.
After a delicious all you can eat lunch and frozen yogurt bar that the girls thoroughly enjoyed, we participated in a build your own game activity. Two employees from Zynga assisted the girls in designing their own original game on poster papers. After work time, the groups of girls presented their games on the theater stage, using microphones to the Zynga employees. Employees gave feedback, asked questions and gave girls a prize for standing in front of the girls. Students were excited and engaged. As I scanned the room, I witnessed high levels of active participation. As students presented there seemed to be mutual respect given from both attending schools which eliminated anxiety and fear from all students involved. Students seem to enjoy the experience and were excited about the prizes given for participating.
I think this experience was amazing for students and created buy-in. More girls have joined Ignite since and many are interested in career paths in tech. Our host, Michelle Del Rosario, was fantastic and accommodating to students' needs. Thank you so much and I know you sparked an interest in tech for students that will hopefully lead them to continue their path of life long learning in the field of technology.
This trip was special for many reasons, particularly for how welcoming and supportive the employees at Zynga were. The girls formed bonds with the employees over lunch that continued into the creating a game activity. Thank you to the hosts and volunteers for organizing this fun and engaging day for our students!
Many thanks to the great team at Zynga for making this trip such a success!
Here's what the students enjoyed most:
"Today at Zynga I learned about the privileges of tech life. For one they get amazing lunches and ice cream. I also learned that math and science is very important. I would love to work at Zynga." - 8th grade
"I liked that they talked and explained what they do there and how they work. Something I learned in the field trip was that they explained that we have to keep on trying to do something if we failed." - 7th grade
"The most fun was that we got to design our own games." - 6th grade
"I learned about games and how to brainstorm. I really like how they talked a lot about women and about how failure is sometimes a good thing. Lastly, I really liked the arcades, the unlimited froyo, the couches, and the hammocks." - 6th grade
"Something I learned was that you should keep on trying and if you want to try something its better to try than to lose the change. If you fail at something, the better thing to do is to try again or try something another way." - 7th grade
"Something I really liked was when a woman coder said "some of you girls might like math like I did but when you learn more about math, its more fun!"" - Grade 6
"I liked the activity because we got to see how they do their jobs of designing games. I also like how the building was organized, quiet, clean and good quality. I liked the games they let us play and the games they designed. Everyone was so nice." - 8th grade