Everett Middle School at WSP


10/17/19 | Everett Middle School at WSP | by Demetric Strong, IGNITE Advisor

The trip to WSP was amazing. Christina Bowen, WSP's Building Technology Systems Designer, was an exceptional host. We brought fifteen 6, 7, and 8th-grade students on the field trip. We were greeted by Christina, Ely, Hallie, Charlotte, Barbara, Michael, and many other volunteers as soon as we exited the elevators on the 7th floor. The group's first impressions of the work environment were very positive. The work space was open, ergonomic, and clean. The employees were happy and engaged, polite, helpful, and inspiring. They all made our group feel welcome and cared for.

The first activity was a tour of WSP’s office space and lobby. We were also taken on a tour to 50 Market Street, the Salesforce Tower lobby and top floor, and the New Transbay Terminal. The students were able to gain further insight into the various projects WSP has had a hand in completing, and some of their current projects in progress (ie. the illuminated walls and lighting within the lobby of the Salesforce building and the adjacent building). Furthermore, we were able to experience the wonders found while on the top floor of the Salesforce Tower. The view was amazing, but the design and general atmosphere were priceless. In addition, we were able to walk the upper and lower portions of the new Transbay terminal, and the Salesforce Tower Park. According to most of the students they were really impressed with the top floor of the tower, the views, and the short gondola ride.

Once we completed the tour of the general area, we returned for lunch and engaged in a panel discussion with a number of female employees (including the Sr. Vice President).

The panelists ranged in age and length of service. Each panelist gave a brief synopsis of how they got into the industry and their journey through the classroom and other social arenas. Each specialized in a different area of engineering (mechanical, electrical, transportation improvement, structural, etc.) The most memorable tidbits of advice given were to be confident, don’t be afraid to look and sound smart or ask questions, surround yourself with positive people, try everything, and find mentors to learn from. The questions asked by students mainly related to how the panelists chose their career or if they would go back in time and do anything different. Panelists were also asked about their most memorable completed projects. The panelists were able to project a certain personal and professional confidence. I also believe that by hearing each story students were able to draw some similarities between their lives and the lives of each panelist. Also, the food was great!

Once we completed the panel the students were offered one last activity. The activities objective required students to problem solve and collaborate together. Lego blocks were used to represent various energy sources (wind turbine, solar panels, fuel cells, etc.), which cost various amounts (75$-200$). Students were given a budget of $2000 and challenged to create a model building using sources of power that cost no more than $2000 and was able to generate 1000kw of energy. The results varied by group, however, two groups used all $2000 and generated the necessary 1000kw of energy/power. One group was able to complete the project with a surplus budget and able to produce more energy than required with their model. This was a great example of cost efficiency and how to maximize your resources while brainstorming new and innovative ways to solve problems.

In conclusion, the trip was special because the volunteers were all so passionate about their job, passionate about the direction the tech industry is moving, and passionate about having a role in promoting the opportunities within the tech industry for women. The biggest highlight was the Salesforce Tower tour, Transbay Terminal tour, and the amazing stories told by each panelist. The Everett Middle School group is very thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to visit and learn. We want to thank all of the volunteers and speakers, and everyone else behind the scenes who helped facilitate the day.

Special thanks to Christina Bowen who helped facilitate the day and make it extra inspiring for girls!

After attending this event:


of girls/non-binary students are more interested in STEM!


of girls/non-binary students want to study harder to attend college and further their education


of girls/non-binary students want to continue attending IGNITE events

Here's what the students enjoyed most:

Going to the top of the Salesforce Tower. It inspired me because of the view, and that it takes hard work to do something great.

I loved the panel and going to the top of the Salesforce Tower. I was inspired by the women who work here. They work so hard!

I enjoyed making Lego buildings and finding budgets [sic]. What I also learned was the kilowatts, the energy which was interesting for me.

I enjoyed visiting the Salesforce building. Hearing the people during the panel talk about the careers made me more interested in a STEM career.

I enjoyed the activity we did last. Going to the 61st floor of a building. Eating. Making new friends.