Panel at Ingraham High School

On Feb. 10, Ingraham High School hosted an IGNITE Worldwide panel, attended by 35 girls/non-binary students in grades 9-12. After an introduction to IGNITE and the lack of women in STEM, a few members of Ingraham community spoke.  Catherine Smith, CTE Teacher, talked about resources currently available to students who are interested in getting into technology. The presidents of Ingraham’s Girls Who Code club, Women in Science club, and Feminism club also introduced their clubs to other students.

Four inspiring STEM professionals shared their education and career journeys:

  • Raquel Wilson (Third Party Risk Analyst at DocuSign)
  • Hazel John (Assistant Director of Technology at Cambia Health Solutions)
  • Anneka Boccio (Senior Staff Product Manager at Parade Technologies)
  • Jigna Patel (Founder, La Morisyenne LLC)

Students were very impressed by the panelists and their stories, the various ways that they each got into the tech industry, and once they got there, how they did not let being in a male-dominated field deter them.

Panelists also emphasized that that there is not one way to get into the tech industry and that there are a variety of choices once you get there. For example, you do not need to take all the right classes or know what you want to major in right away – there are a variety of options available, no matter what you study! While there are a lot of ways of getting into the field, panelists did emphasize the importance of getting a good education to their future success. Ingraham does have several computer sciences courses available to help students start preparing now!

Thank you to Raquel Wilson, Hazel John, Anneka Boccio, and Jigna Patel for sharing your stories and helping Ingraham students understand the importance of and opportunities in STEM!

After attending this event:


of students are more interested in STEM


of students want to study harder to attend college and further their education

Take STEM Class


of students want to take a STEM-related class next semester

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

I liked hearing the professionals talk. When teachers say things about your future it’s all theoretical, but when people actually in the industry say things it’s a concrete example of what can happen.

Having women of color and immigrants and people who came from low-income backgrounds who took advantage of their education to succeed in STEM.

I thought it was interesting with their approach toward a field that is male-dominated, how they don’t let it affect them. It inspired me to look into computer programming that I can learn on my own time. Super inspiring! – 11th grade

Something that inspired me during today’s event was that even though these women had come across all these hardships and roadblocks/hurdles they still continued doing what they do, and they don’t let those stop them. – 10th grade

I loved the emphasis on the “gift of education” – made me very grateful. I also loved hearing the personal stories/journeys of the women of the panel – very inspiring, relevant, and relatable. Thank you for sharing with us! – 12th grade

I really enjoyed hearing the panel’s stories. They gave me a larger perspective on the nuance and complexity of being a woman in a STEM related career. It inspired me to consider a STEM-related career/major. – 9th grade

Hearing Hazel’s story and how she didn’t give up was inspiring because what she did wasn’t easy – it would have been so easy to give up but she didn’t. She worked harder and succeeded. – 9th grade

I enjoyed listening to people’s stories and how they came across STEM careers/fields. What inspired me was how far and successful they’ve come, even in a male-dominated field/workplace. It inspired me to explore internship opportunities. -12th grade

I enjoyed hearing stories from such a diverse group of women. It was inspiring seeing others do what I want to do. It inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and try new things in STEM. – 12th grade

Each of the panelists were inspiring and different from each other. I found it really interesting how each of them had unique paths and stories in CS. It was great! – 12th grade

I really enjoyed hearing about the different paths each took – knowing about how each one ended up in their fields and what impact had on their lives. It inspired me to take online coding classes because it won’t fit into my schedule, but it’s something I really want to learn! – 12th grade

I really enjoyed listening to the speakers’ stories of how they got to the point where they are now. It was inspiring to see how they all came from different backgrounds and built successful careers. – 10th grade

Learning about different options within the STEM fields. It inspired me to explore more of what I’m interested in and take chances on opportunities I’m unsure about. – 11th grade

The fact that these women all found their way to get where they are. Lots of bumps but now they’re so successful. – 11th grade

I think that each speaker had their own personality and story. Also we learned about the more social aspects of being in the tech industry. I didn’t think about it. – 10th grade

The speakers were all well-spoken and insightful. I enjoyed hearing about their experiences with and advice for the workplace. – 12th grade

I enjoyed hearing about their work experiences and what they went through by being in the group of small amounts of women in STEM fields. We got to hear everyone’s perspective in these working fields. -11th grade

I really liked hearing all the backgrounds of the women. They also gave good advice. – 12th grade

I really liked Rocky’s story and how she didn’t go through college. – 9th grade

I liked learning about the unique pathways and challenges facing each of the women going into STEM. – 12th grade

Each member at the panel had a very different story and experiences. They also have very different jobs. – 10th grade

I found how hard people worked to get into the industry inspiring and how different their backstories were was inspiring as well. – 10th grade

Inspired me to look into STEM related internships. Very well executed! – 11th grade

I liked hearing about different experiences that were relatable. – 11th grade

Hearing individual, real-life experiences and pieces of advice. – 11th grade

Hearing real life experiences and seeing how they are outstanding in various fields. – 11th grade

Hearing the panelists’ stories and advice to be curious and continue to explore. – 11th grade

I liked hearing about their paths to having a career in tech. I liked how there was diversity in their paths and jobs. – 11th grade

I liked how people shared their stories and their struggles in computer science. – 9th grade

It was cool to hear about the many ways that women entered STEM fields and how education influenced their roles. – 12th grade

I liked hearing their stories of how they started in STEM. Keep doing things like this! – 11th grade