Lucasfilm Field Trip with Menlo Atherton and Sequoia High Schools

On December 7, 2023, Menlo Atherton High School and Sequoia High School IGNITE Students embarked on an unforgettable dive into Lucasfilm by attending an IGNITE Field Trip Event. The day commenced with a tour of Lucasfilm’s San Francisco, CA campus, offering students a glimpse into Lucasfilm’s 50-year history in the entertainment industry and its profound impact on the visual effects landscape. The tour was led by Tour Guides: Alexa Alyeshmerni, Leigh Zieske, and Marcia Gunabe. A highlight of the day was when the students were ushered into a dailies room, where trailers of ongoing projects were showcased, providing an insider’s view of the creative process.

The students got the opportunity to visit the ILM virtual production stage, where they were treated to a demonstration of the more detailed parts of virtual production within visual effects. The immersive experience left a lasting impression on the students and provided a hands-on exploration of ILM’s virtual production technology. It was a unique opportunity to show IGNITE Students how creativity can be found in STEM and encouraged the students to see possibilities for their futures that support their current interests in art and movies.

Afterward, students gathered for lunch and heard Panelists Lisa Durand, Senior Technical Assistant, and Akanksha Sahu, Pipeline Supervisor, share their personal and professional stories. By hearing the journeys Lisa and Akanksha took to get where they are today and having the opportunity to ask the Panelists questions, the students were given a better glimpse into the possibilities and paths that await them in STEM.

Thank you to everyone who made the IGNITE Program Field Trip Event at Lucasfilm a resounding success. Special thanks to the Planning Committee Volunteers, including Yesun Rachel Ahn, Allie Moon, Cristiane Maia, Ryland Carlin, Anna Yeager, and Rachel Nartia, for helping to orchestrate this experience. Thank you to the Tour Guides, Alexa Alyeshmerni, Leigh Zieske, and Marcia Gunabe. Sincerest thanks to Panelists Lisa Durand and Akanksha Sahu for sharing their careers and stories with IGNITE Students. A special thank you to Educator Tiffany Burkle, whose commitment to empowering students through the IGNITE Program makes a difference every day.

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

This event inspired me to really take steps towards what I am passionate about. I was inspired by the volunteers’ ambition and how they all got into the film industry. I learned so much about how a film studio works. I also learned a lot about motion capture, and it is something I am very interested in. I also loved all of the memorabilia that was shown to us–that was super cool!” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

About Lucasfilm:

Lucasfilm is among the world’s leading entertainment service companies, a pioneer in visual effects and sound across multiple mediums, and is home to the legendary Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.

About IGNITE Program Field Trip Events:

IGNITE Field Trips offer a memorable, behind-the-scenes look at STEM in action and the wide range of career opportunities at the host company. Company employees interact directly with the students through an office tour, hands-on STEM activities, and IGNITE Panel and Q&A discussion.

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

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