Buena Vista Horace Mann Workshop and Panel

2/6/20 | IGNITE Workshop and Panel at Buena Vista Horace Mann School | by Laura Ramirez

We had a group of 28 girls in attendance at our annual Ignite Women In STEM event at Buena Vista Horace Mann. They were so excited and curious to attend this event. We welcomed them in the auditorium to discuss the purpose, what IGNITE is and what the organization believes in, highlighting the importance of trying new things and having an open mind about exploring technology through art and design. 

After the brief welcoming session, the girls proceeded to go to the computer lab for the robotics workshop, facilitated by Teresita Villalon and Nathan Poon from Myntor. They opened their presentation by showing a video of how the use of technology and innovation can change the lives of people for the better, for example, designing robot parts for a person who has physical disabilities.  Then, the girls were engaged in a design activity using Tinkercad to get them to design innovative things using their creativity and perseverance. 


After the workshop, everyone headed to the auditorium, where we set up our beautiful tables so that our BVHM girls can have lunch while listening to our powerful women panelists from a tech company, Thumbtack: Anna Selonick, Software Engineer; Mallika Potter: Android Software Engineer; Unzi Park: Software Engineer. The students prepared questions in advance to ask our panelists about their favorite part about working in a tech company? What it’s like to work in a field where few women are bosses? Do they have to be good at math to get a job like theirs? Describe their struggles in school. And What is your dream job? They all emphasized the importance of asking for help when needed, finding your group of people who are supportive, and pursue your dreams even if you think you don’t belong. Students were able to relate to their struggles as middle schoolers.


It was clear to students how much perseverance and self efficacy it takes to achieve goals in their long educational journey. All of our presenters inspired our middle school girls. We appreciated their time and efforts for making this Ignite event meaningful. It is important to provide space for girls to get inspired to take classes in high school that will prep them for a career in STEM. Shout out to our BVHM parent volunteers, Luz and Evelyn, ICA volunteer Emily, and our panelists from Thumbtack and our workshop facilitators from Myntor, for making this event successful.

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:

Today's event inspired me in what can I do when I grow. - Grade 8

I like the part when were we were able to create a box in the computer lab because I knew about people growing up with different body parts and that's something that inspired me. Also the food. Heheh. - Grade 7

This event inspire me to maybe join a club of STEAM and get more interested in it. - Grade 7

The food and I actually want to keep going with this. - Grade 8