On November 3rd, 27 IGNITE Students from Franklin Pierce High School took an exciting field trip to T-Mobile’s new Tech Experience Center in Bellevue, WA. T-Mobile immediately made an impression with a unique greeting as their buses pulled in. Students were amazed by their welcome with a drone and music playing and knew it was just the beginning of their amazing IGNITE Field Trip!
As the group entered the building, volunteers asked if any students were interested in flying the drones. The T-Mobile Greeters highlighted that more women pilots are needed in the STEM field! Afterward, students watched the drone’s video footage of their arrival and received an introduction by Henry Li and Candice Boyd to the history of wireless and how wireless networks work. The students also learned about some of the fantastic applications of 5G technology, such as Robotics, 3D Printing, Drones, and Augmented Reality. To add to the fun, students were invited to play “strike-a-light,” a game similar to “whack-a-mole” that shows the difference in 3G, 4G, and 5G latency speeds.
After the introduction, students explored 5G applications as they visited different demo stations. Facilitators Candice Boyd, Rowin Andruscavage, Henry Li, and Nguyen Duong showed off how technology is moving beyond the smartphone. For example, how the network can help grow plants in water, called hydroponics, and how remote electronic arms can be used for surgical procedures!
T-Mobile Senior Engineer Rowan Andruscavage then led students through a coding activity to show how engineers program some of the demonstrations. The students got to code an IoT (Internet of Things) device to roll dice or give fortunes with a push of a button, and each student received a device to take home. This showed the students how easy it is to code!
Students then sat down for a pizza lunch while they heard from STEM professionals from different T-Mobile departments during a live panel and Q&A:
Kavita Dave, Manager, Product & Technology in Digital, grew up in India, where teaching was the main career for women. She was interested in biology and the sciences. She ultimately pursued a career in computing, even though she was not naturally skilled at math and found some of her studies very challenging! Kavita encouraged the crowd not to be intimidated and to pursue their dreams. She noted the importance of not getting discouraged because things are hard; you will learn and become better for it.
Mario Busjra, a Group Program Manager, said that you can have many careers in your lifetime, but you will find the one that will make you happy. Mario encouraged students to always have a positive attitude and try new things and is an advocate for STEM volunteering outside of T-Mobile for events like Codeday.
Students asked the speakers insightful questions about education, job growth, challenges with diversity, and access to opportunities. Some of their questions included the following:
- What made you continue to pursue tech?
- How did you overcome being one of the only women of color in this field?
- Do you have advice on what classes I should study to prepare myself for a career in STEM?
The panelists reinforced that students should believe in themselves, try new things, and never give up. They let students know that they should start now in the classes they take to help better prepare them for a career in STEM. They also shared about the variety of STEM careers available, including those that don’t involve math and science.
Students enjoyed having the opportunity to experience a diverse workplace like T-Mobile that encourages growth and promotes innovation. Seeing people in this field who look like them allowed the students to see themselves doing what the panelists do because they know it is happening!
Thank you to the T-Mobile volunteers for going above and beyond to make students feel welcome and included, and for providing an unforgettable field trip experience: Beckie Stark, Michelle Balatico, Sid Fox, Candice Boyd, Henry Li, Rowan Andruscavage, Justin Ho, Nguyen Duong, Woody Sellers, and panelists Kavita Dave and Mario Busjra. Additional thanks to IGNITE Educator Bre Brown and the enthusiastic and engaged students from Franklin Pierce High School!
After attending this event:
Here’s what the students thought of the event:
“Today’s event made me understand more about how technology works, what it needs, how it has become better, and the things we have been able to create with it. The demos we got to see and experience were amazing!” – 12th grade
“The diversity was very nice and the encouragement made me feel safe about pursuing STEM. This event showed me there’s more to STEM than computers. It made me realize the multiple talents that go into seemingly such simple works.” – 10th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to never give up & to always follow your dreams. Some takeaways for me were to ask a lot of questions if I don’t understand & to never be scared to speak up.” – 9th grade
“The different things we can do with technology is amazing – we could have robots do more things for us and drones to deliver stuff!” – 9th grade
“Today inspired me to always persevere. I learned there are many jobs within STEM and you don’t have to excel at math or science to have a career in STEM.” – 11th grade
“Today inspired me to never give up on what I want to pursue. I also learned that it’s ok to not know exactly what to do.” – 11th grade
“Today showed me all of the different areas in STEM I could pursue if I wanted to. My biggest takeaway from today was the AR demo – I was really invested and engaged!” – 9th grade
“I was inspired by the fact that the panelists are not from the U.S. I feel it takes a lot to leave your home.” – 10th grade
“This event inspired me to focus on taking classes and pursue what I want to do, even if I’m not sure what I want yet.” – 9th grade
“This event inspired me to think about my future and different career paths that I want. It definitely affected my mindset about my future career.” – 12th grade
“The panelists motivated me so much by showing me there’s hope for my future, even if there’s some failure. I realized I can take communications, chemistry, business, or other classes to help me!” – 9th grade
“This event helped me understand more opportunities, and have better knowledge of what I want to do.” – 10th grade
“Today gave me the confidence to pursue a career in a male dominated field. Listening to the panelists being so passionate in their job gave me more interest in this field.” – 10th grade
“I was intrigued and surprised by all the information I learned. I really appreciate the support and how welcoming this event was.” – 12th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to not give up on my dreams! I appreciated the panelists and the inspiration I got from them.” – 12th grade
“Today’s event really inspired me to try new things and go into the STEM field. I learned there are more things out there than just following one dream.” – 9th grade
“I felt inspired when one of the speakers advised me to not be afraid and to build your own table to add the chairs of your choosing.” – 12th grade
“I’m thankful for this experience surrounding me with professionals that were encouraging. It showed me steps outside of school, how to get into STEM, and to pursue my dreams without fear.” – 10th grade
“Today inspired me to pursue my dreams and it motivated me to keep moving forward.” – 9th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to look into STEM. It also made me want to look into jobs that involve STEM.” – 9th grade
“Learning about the plans on how Technology will be used has inspired me to be more interested in STEM.” – 9th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to push harder for my future, to take advantage of the opportunities available to me, and not let my self-doubt stop me. The future advancements in technology are exciting and limitless. It amazed me to see how many people are behind-the-scenes for technology.” – 12th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to go into technology after high school. I enjoyed learning about people’s experiences and about STEM.” – 9th grade
“This event showed me that as a woman, I can be in STEM and that I can program!” – 12th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to think bravely and confidently about my future career choices. A few takeaways I’ve had today is what the “G” means in 5G, the new innovations, and how progressive business will be in the future.” – 11th grade
“Today’s event inspired me to learn more about tech. In the future, I would want to try and work in STEM. I realized to never give up and always pursue your dream!” – 9th grade
“Today I learned more about what it is like to be a women of color in STEM. I learned how to not to give up and to overcome challenges in life. I know that I can do anything!” – 10th grade
“Today was fun! I learned many things and it opened my mind to technology. It encouraged me to ask questions, communicate, and never give up!” – 12th grade