IGNITE Event in Poland on Innovation

On December 18, 2023, 13 students in grades 5-8 from three public primary schools in Poland–Wroclaw, Bukowina Sycowska, and Kąty Wrocławskie–participated in a virtual IGNITE Program Event. The event featured Kinga Nowak-Gruszka, Senior Business Development Manager at Clif Bar and Company, who shared her journey in the innovation sector.

Kinga’s engaging session began with a personal touch as she revealed her preference for humanities over sciences during her school days. Growing up in an environment where her father, an engineer, encouraged her to embrace new challenges, she emphasized the importance of perseverance—a lesson she carried into her own professional life.

Having fallen in love with the United States during a “Work and Travel” program, Kinga decided to make a bold move. Leaving her life as an English teacher behind, she, along with her husband and infant daughter, obtained a green card to start anew in the U.S. The initial challenges didn’t deter her spirit, and she eventually found herself working in a startup, Blue Orange, crafting board games from unconventional materials.

Kinga’s journey continued as she pursued Business Administration studies and transitioned to a big corporation, gaining valuable experience in innovation and strategy. During the event, she interacted with the students, discussing the essential features of a person working in the innovation sector—creativity, risk-taking, and the ability to push beyond the comfort zone.

A highlight of the event was Kinga’s insightful video about the chocolate bar production process, emphasizing the significance of each step in both production and innovation strategy. She encouraged the students to embrace new challenges, go beyond their comfort zones, and recognize innovation not just in business but also in daily life.

Thank you to Kinga Nowak-Gruszka for sharing her story with IGNITE Students. A Special thanks to Monika Małecka and Agnieszka Krasicka for coordinating the groups and fostering an encouraging environment for the students. Additional thanks to Cathi Rodgveller for her consistent support in making the event a success.

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


of students gained perspective and feel more hopeful about the future

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

Today’s meeting inspired me to start thinking about who I want to be in the future. Ms. Kinga was very cool. I hope there will be a meeting with her again someday.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s meeting inspired me to pursue the goals I set for myself. Ms. Kinga today conducted the class very well. I listened with a smile on my face about STEM and many other things.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s meeting taught me a lot. It inspired me to have the courage, not to be afraid. I learned that one should strive for a goal.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

About IGNITE Program Events:

Virtual or In-Person IGNITE Program Events empower women in STEM careers to connect directly with students by sharing their academic and professional journeys. IGNITE Students are inspired by hearing stories they can relate to, and Q&A discussions help break down stereotypes that hold them back from engaging in STEM classes and careers.

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.

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