Microsoft Data 101 Workshop with Northwood Middle School

On May 23, 2023, IGNITE Students from Northwood Middle School participated in a Data 101 Workshop Event with Microsoft.

The Microsoft representatives taught the students about data collection, tracking, analysis, and decision-making using the Java Pet Store application. The Data 101 activity was a fun way to show the students how data they find interesting is tracked and visualized, and can be used to inform their decisions.

In addition to the activity, the students also learned about the Panelists, including information about their backgrounds, wisdom gained from working in the STEM field, and advice for a successful future.

The questions for the Panelists ranged from light-hearted (what is your zodiac sign, your favorite color) to work-related (what was the best and hardest project you worked on, how does AI affect your work) to advice (what do you look for when interviewing, what has been an experience you wished your company handled better).

The Panelists offered the following advice to students:

  • You don’t need to be great at math or science to have a great career in STEM.
  • If I can make it from my background, you can do it too- it will take a lot of hard work, but it’s possible.
  • You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but you should work to develop your other skills.
  • Failure is a great teacher.
  • A growth mindset will help you be successful.

Thank you to Michelle Chamberlain and Keirten Nivol for helping to organize such a fun event, and to the volunteers for leading the students through the activity – and a special thanks to the Panelists for sharing their stories and experience with the students!

After attending this event:


of students are interested in STEM

Take STEM Class


of students know more about STEM career choices and the benefits of working in a STEM field

Ask Teacher about Additional STEM Activities


of students feel more confident in pursuing STEM


of students gained perspective and feel more hopeful about the future

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

Today’s event inspired me by showing that there are many skills valued and that there are many engineering jobs available, especially in the Northwest. My biggest takeaways were that no matter what your skills are, there is a job for you.” – 7th grade

I learned a lot about STEM and the volunteers helped show me that there are many jobs available in this field. They also taught me that if I try hard, I can get into a good job. There are a lot of job opportunities to get in a field like this and I can change the future. Thank you!” – 8th grade

Today’s event inspired me by showing me that women have a future in STEM. My big takeaway is that STEM has to improved its diversity.” – 7th grade

Today’s event inspired me to work hard even when things are hard. I was not very interested in working in STEM fields and this event really helped me understand that there was more to STEM than being smart and being knowledgeable in math and science. My takeaways today were that there are so many things that you should always look at, even if you don’t understand them immediately, you can always learn things.” – 8th grade

“Today’s event informed me of the lack of women in all STEM fields, like Microsoft and XBOX. After today’s event, I feel more confident going into a STEM field. My big takeaways today were that STEM fields are not totally dominated by male figures. It’s not too late for women to get involved in STEM.” – 7th grade

“Today’s event inspired me by showing me that, regardless of someone’s background or ethnicity, you can do anything. I learned that you can be successful even if you haven’t finished high school.” – 7th grade

Today’s event helped me think of what I want my future to be and what kind of job I want to have when I am older. I got to connect with people who work at Microsoft and learn more about Microsoft, how they work, and what kind of jobs they have.” – 7th grade

“I liked how the volunteers were very supportive and how they made it really interesting. I learned that your gender doesn’t mean you can’t work in a certain place. I also learned that no matter what you’re going through, it will end up okay!” – 7th grade

I had a good experience because I learned a lot and feel better about getting into this field. I feel more comfortable in going into a job in STEM because one of the women didn’t like science or math, but now she is a senior manager. It seems like fun, and it also seems like a flexible work schedule.” – 8th grade

“It was inspiring to see how the different speakers got involved in their field and hear their life stories. It’s cool to see the diverse backgrounds and cultural climates in the workspaces. I think that no matter your background, you still have an opportunity in STEM. It’s all about dedication and hard work. Thank you volunteers for sharing!” – 7th grade

The STEM professionals made me feel excited about my future. They inspired me to be the best I can be. I will remember to work hard and be myself through my struggles and successes. Sincere thank you to the volunteers.” – 7th grade

“Hearing how the volunteers got to where they are now inspired me because it shows that anyone can do anything if they believe in themselves and their goal. It also shows that you can make a steady income if you work hard. From the event, I learned that even if people do other things besides work on computers or play games, their opinions and input can help in many ways.” – 7th grade

“Today I learned about how Taylor Swift is the best and no matter your background, you can do STEM! The volunteers were amazing and I wish them all the best!” – 7th grade

“The presenters shared their backgrounds and their past. They also shared problems and difficult times they have had. Knowing that they had to go through these times makes me feel like if I work hard through the obstacles, it will all be worth it. I liked that the volunteers took their time to educate the future generation about STEM and are trying to get people into their career. I’m glad that we talked about how AI impacted their jobs, as AI is getting stronger.” – 7th grade

After today’s event, I feel more inclined to do something in the STEM field. This is because I gained new information that I had not previously known. For example, how inclusive the STEM field is for different passions, like hairdressing, digital design, construction, art, etc. Today also made me feel more inclined to pursue things I am passionate about, like art and design. One of my biggest takeaways from today’s event was to not give up. It was brought to my attention that there was a lot of trial and error for each of our guest speakers before they made it to their final destination.” – 8th grade

I didn’t know much about data analysis before today, but this inspired me to look into jobs like that. It seems like an interesting option.” – 8th grade

“Today’s event taught me that no matter how my life is going, I always have an opportunity. There are many different areas of work and many chances to change my career. STEM is a very flexible career with many choices.” – 8th grade

“Personally, I am interested in a medical career, but I’m also interested in audio engineering. I think that this event has allowed me to realistically think about a producing career and the fact that I would like to actually get engineering experience, regardless of whether I pursue it as a job. I guess I’d just like to say thank you to the volunteers! They were super down-to-earth and allowed me to take away the fact(s) that the process of journeying on a STEM career path will not be easy, but it will be worth it, and one day there will be a moment where you feel like you’ve achieved a lot.” – 8th grade

Today’s event inspired me because of the different types of jobs you can pursue, and you don’t need to be good at math or science to be at Microsoft. I know more about what I could do if I join STEM. I also learned that there are a wide variety of jobs for different people at Microsoft. I appreciate the volunteers for taking time to teach us about Microsoft and how they love working there.” – 7th grade

This event showed me how many different people, from varieties of different perspectives and interests, all found something they loved at Microsoft. I also learned about a job I didn’t know existed that I could consider pursuing: a technical writer. I love writing, coding, and science so I was glad to hear that there was a job that could combine most of those. My biggest takeaways were that the volunteers all were within so many different areas at Microsoft and they all had such flexible timelines that they could spend some time teaching us and inspiring us. Thank you to the amazing volunteers who helped me to be more hopeful that this is a career I could achieve and am interested in!” – 7th grade

Hearing the volunteers’ journeys of being able to work on so many projects with others and do what they love showed me that STEM might be a fun job to have. It also shows me that you are able to make a good income as long as you work hard and try your best at what you do. From this event, I learned that your job can be something you really love to do and that you can have fun while doing it, and that you need to work hard to get the position you want. A big thanks to the volunteers, we appreciate it.” – 7th grade

“Today’s event inspired me by showing me that anyone can be in the technology industry and that work time can be flexible. I loved the volunteers, they were really fun and cool and I learned that there are a lot of challenges working in the industry.” – 7th grade

Today’s event inspired me to pursue the career I want, no matter the challenges I face. I also learned that Taylor Swift surpasses Ariana Grande. I took away from the presentation that success isn’t easy to come by, but you can still succeed.” – 7th grade

“I think the way the volunteers described the steps to take to make an ecosystem made it a lot easier to understand and made it sound like an achievable goal that was rewarding. I also appreciated the way they acknowledged the hard work. My big takeaway was to learn the technical skills in college, then be open to learning and build a growth mindset for overall success in life.” – 7th grade

I was inspired by the passion the volunteers showed when they presented.” – 8th grade

“The volunteers were very entertaining, and they made me realize that I didn’t need to be extremely skilled in science or math to succeed in life. Their stories on how they got to where they are were quite interesting, and it also made me more hopeful for my future. I enjoyed the part where the volunteers talked about their journeys and hardships, and also the part where we used our computers to do the data analysis for the virtual pet app. I appreciate that the volunteers spent their time doing this for us.” – 8th grade

“Today’s event showed me that the STEM field has a lot of opportunities for an interesting and well-paying career. The event also was inspiring because the guest speakers were very passionate about what they do in their careers. One of my big takeaways from today was that education is very important for a career in the STEM field. There are a lot of ways to partake in a STEM career, which can be suited to the different interests that people have. I would like to thank today’s guest speakers for taking the time to talk about their experiences working in STEM.” – 7th grade

I now feel like I am able to go into the STEM field and go prepared, even if I’m not the smartest person. My takeaways were that I can do a lot of things and that I’m prepared for Microsoft.” – 7th grade

I didn’t think that I would be very good at computer science type jobs because I can’t really do math, but after going to this workshop I see that it’s not just about the math and there other important parts of the job as well. My big takeaways from today were the fact that I can do a computer science job and I like surveying what people like and collecting that data. I think I would really enjoy doing that type of job.” – 7th grade