Panel At Decatur High School


November 22, 2019 | IGNITE Panel at Decatur High School | by Renee Novak

On Nov. 22, Decatur High School hosted an IGNITE panel with six speakers joining us in the Career Center. A diverse group of young women attended and started off learning a bit more about IGNITE and the importance of women in STEM.

The speakers introduced themselves, explaining their backgrounds and how they ended up where they are in successful careers in technology and engineering.

Our amazing panelists included:

  • Kat Mujica – IT Help Desk Technician at Blue Origin
  • India Buckley – Software Engineer II at Microsoft
  • Chloe Wattles – IT Showcase Junior Storyteller & Marketing Intern at Microsoft
  • Brittany Nelson – Data Scientist at Microsoft
  • Savanna Nagorski – Land Use Planner / GIS Analyst at ESM Consulting Engineers
  • Laura Bartenhagen – Principal / Civil Project Manager at EMS Consulting Engineers

The panelists talked about some of the challenges they have encountered on their journeys and also about their “Ah-ha” moments when they realized what they wanted to do. It was so impactful for the girls to hear that there are many different career options and different paths to get there. Our students were able to ask a lot of questions and even continue the conversation after the event!

All of the girls enjoyed the session, particularly when the panelists split out among the tables to chat more one-on-one with the students. Most of the girls said that they would like to attend more IGNITE events and are looking forward to the upcoming field trips!

I would like to thank all of our panelists: Kat Mujica, India Buckley, Chloe Wattles, Brittany Nelson, Savanna Nagorski, and Laura Bartenhagen. We appreciate you making the time to spend with our girls and sharing your stories and wisdom. THANK YOU! 


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 like how even if it's not our thing, we can keep looking. And also how STEM has a variety of jobs you can apply for. I was inspired by the fact that when people don't take you seriously you can prove them wrong."

- 10th grade


"Shared experiences made me feel normal about my experiences. This event inspired me to work to find an apprenticeship."

- 12th grade


"Everyone's story and how most of them weren't sure what they wanted to do and the way they made their choice. It was really good!"

- 11th grade


"All of the different women's backgrounds. Makes me think I can do whatever I put my mind to, no matter what background."

- 10th grade


"Hearing everyone's story. It inspired me because I learned that it's okay to not know what to major in in college."

- 11th grade


"It inspired me because other people that did STEM made it seem so hard, but when the ladies came in today they said more stuff about it that made me inspired about it."

- 11th grade


"Getting to sit down with them and talking about college and how they got to where they are."

- 9th grade


"That I can do anything as a woman! Everything about this was great."

- 11th grade


"Hearing everyone's story. If I'm interested in something, go for it!"

- 11th grade


"Hearing about the panelists' different backgrounds. It was perfect!"

- 11th grade


"My highlights were when the speakers talked about themselves, when they answered questions, and when they came to our table to talk to us."

- 11th grade


"The interesting personalities of each panelist as well as their stories."

- 12th grade