Evergreen High School at Microsoft Industry Experience Center


Thursday, November 14, 2019 | Evergreen High School at Microsoft Industry Experience Center | by Chel Gary

On Nov. 14th, the IGNITE chapter from Evergreen High School attended a field trip to the Microsoft Industry Experience Center. We received a warm welcome from the receptionist and volunteers, and the girls were very impressed with the safe and secure environment - and also all the refreshments!

Our tour guide, Braeden Petruk, walked us into what looked like his own living room and kitchen. All the attention to detail in the room really did make it feel as if we were in someone’s home. He spoke about the work he does at Microsoft as a software engineer and showed us a brief video. What happened next absolutely wowed all of us! He casually continued talking, then pushed on the bookshelf, which turned out to be a secret door into the showroom!

With the help of Braeden and Stephen Taylor, a Senior Service Manager, our students were able to visit several different stations that demonstrated various ways technology can be used in the world. The girls tried hands-on activities, sampling future technology and how tech can continue to advance what we do in our everyday lives.

Some of the stations included: a café that had interactive technology allowing customers to order, read food and drink information, and entertain themselves all while sitting at their table; a grocery store with advanced technology for self checkout and other tools to assist shoppers; a “golf course” to play a virtual game of golf; facial recognition technology to search for what soccer athlete has the closest resemblance to each of us; phone software to accurately narrate what is in a photograph for those who are vision-impaired; and a car that could be powered by voice command!

The girls really enjoyed being able to engage in hands-on activities at all the stations, and they felt very special to be one of the first groups to go behind the scenes at the Industry Experience Center!

After the tour, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and then were very fortunate to hear from an inspiring group of women who spoke on a panel. Our amazing panelists were:

  • Sufen Fong, Program Manager
  • Connie Yau, Software Engineer II
  • Christina Tobias, Software Engineer
  • Anita Sujarit, Executive Producer at Microsoft - Minecraft
  • Romi Koifman, Senior Program Manager

We appreciated that the speakers represented a range of experience, some having worked at Microsoft for many years and one person working there for less than a year. The students of color shared how meaningful it was to have a panel that was majority women of color. It was great to hear about the different experiences of the program managers, such as the different countries where they were able to work and the opportunities that are available. It motivated and encouraged some of our students to look into a STEM career!

At the end of the day we all walked away with a swag bag as well! Microsoft always finds a way to be a standout and special field trip for our students and chaperones. This trip inspired us to envision future possibilities and analyze how we all use technology in our everyday life.

Thank you to the hosts, panelists, and volunteers for enriching our perspectives about technology and affirming that our students have a future in STEM careers! THANK YOU Braeden Petruk, Stephen Taylor, Caroline Iurillo, Victoria Litvinova Sufen Fong, Connie Yau, Christina Tobias, Anita Sujarit, Romi Koifman. We truly appreciated this new and unique Microsoft experience.

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

Here's what the students enjoyed most:

"I liked to look at the cool technology Microsoft has and hearing about the program managers' jobs and all the opportunities they give. This event motivated/encouraged me to go into a STEM career."

- 10th grade


"I got to try different activities and interact with cool technology stuff. It inspired me to discover more about different opportunities related to STEM, also to do coding. I really enjoyed this field trip."

- 10th grade

"I saw how the technology that we use today gets made and changed. What inspired me is that there is new tech being made and I'm interested in making things for the future. "

- 10th grade


"I enjoyed all the different things using technology."

- 10th grade

"The showcase part was SUPER fun and interesting!"

- 10th grade


"I liked the detail in the room and the creations."

- 10th grade

"The tour, being able to visualize everything. Everything was great."

- 10th grade


"The BMW and the secret room."

- 10th grade