IGNITE Students ages 11 to 13 from three public primary schools in Poland—Bukowina Sycowska, Kąty Wrocławskie, and Kałuszyn—had the opportunity to participate in an IGNITE Program Event held on October 25, 2023. The event featured Kasia Siuzdak, a scientist from the Polish Academy of Science and one of Forbes Women’s “22 Polish Women to Watch in 2022.”
Kasia has a penchant for breaking stereotypes and made an impact on the students with her unconventional journey. Raised in a small village, her curiosity led her from her father’s workshop to the forefront of nanotechnology. The students learned about her journey through biotechnology, technical physics, and acquiring a PhD in the chemistry department of Gdansk Polytechnic.
The event was not just a presentation, but told the story of Kasia’s life, resonating by sharing times of resilience, the knowledge gained by making mistakes, and the triumph of perseverance. Kasia’s fusion of science, creativity, and a love for metal music added relatability to her journey and showcased that a scientist’s life is not confined to a lab.
The highlight of the day was when Kasia shared her daily duties. Beyond the lab environment, her world involves knowledge-sharing, engaging with fellow scientists, and active participation in science events. With an Instagram page named “Science Mission,” she takes science out of the lab, proving that experiments can be found even in our kitchens.
Kasia’s parting words to the students inspired determination. She emphasized that girls should pursue what interests them, defy discouragement, and embrace their passions fearlessly. The event not only shattered stereotypes about scientists but left a lasting impression.
Thank you to Kasia Siuzdak for sharing her career and story with IGNITE Students. Special thanks to Monika Małecka, Agnieszka Krasicka, and Krystyna Wasiluk, who coordinated the groups and encouraged the students. Additional thanks to Cathi Rodgveller for her constant support and encouragement of IGNITE Students everywhere.
After attending this event:
Here’s what the students thought of the event:
“This event inspired me to be true to myself and pursue my goals. My life is mine, and I should do what I want.” – IGNITE Student
“Thank you very much for today’s event. It was extremely pleasant and inspiring. We wish you further success, and we will take your advice.” – IGNITE Student
“This event inspired me to follow my dreams and not give up.” – IGNITE Student
“The volunteer provided motivation to act. Thanks to her, I understand that I don’t have to worry about the opinions of others.” – IGNITE Student
“It inspired me to develop my skills.” – IGNITE Student
About IGNITE Worldwide:
IGNITE Worldwide is a 501(c)3 nonprofit STEM education organization that aims to change gender and racial equity in STEM permanently and systematically. We work directly with teachers during the school day to provide programming that promotes gender equity and representation in STEM academics and careers. Through our award-winning program, IGNITE provides engaging, hands-on events that connect students with STEM professionals from industry leaders from around the world. Learn more at www.igniteworldwide.org.