WSP Field Trip with Federal Way High School

On January 23, 2024, Federal Way High School students participated in an IGNITE Field Trip at WSP in Tacoma, WA. Students got the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of engineering. The event, coordinated by Sijia Wang, a Senior Data Scientist at WSP, featured a panel discussion of industry experts, including Sijia herself,  Marcia Medina, Vice President of Civil Engineering, and Marlies de Jong, Ports and Marine Engineer. The event aimed to inspire and educate the 19 students about the diverse opportunities and lesser-known benefits of an engineering career.

The day kicked off with the students embarking on a tour, witnessing engineers in action and gaining insights into various projects. A highlight of the day was undoubtedly the bridge-building competition, where students collaborated in groups, using their creativity and problem-solving skills. The students had fun competing to construct the most robust bridge. The activity not only fostered teamwork but also allowed students to engage with WSP Volunteers, providing a hands-on experience with engineering principles and a time to connect one-on-one with the Volunteers.

After the tour,  students got to hear the personal stories of WSP’s Panelists, offering a glimpse into the possibilities within the field. Students not only learned about engineering opportunities, but also received valuable advice from the Panelists. Sijia emphasized the importance of perseverance and hard work, inspiring the students to pursue their dreams and assuring them of the potential for global travel within the engineering field. The Panelists also encouraged pursuing one’s passion, regardless of societal expectations, resonated strongly, inspiring the students to explore diverse roles within the STEM field.

In addition to the fun experience, the event provided students with a glimpse of the diversity within WSP, helping to break stereotypes and encourage underrepresented groups to consider careers in STEM. The students left WSP with newfound inspiration, equipped with knowledge, and motivated to explore the exciting possibilities within the field of engineering.

Thank you to Sijia Wang for coordinating this event and sharing her story as a Panelist. Thanks to Panelists Marcia Medina and Marlies de Jong for sharing their journeys with the students. Additional thanks to Volunteers Ginette Lalonde, Terry Lohmeyer, Spencer Machinski, Corissa Andrews, Yeliz Firat, Coby Boyd, and Joseph Chung. A special thanks to Educators Lanelle Rodgers, Jenise Quinn, and Charissa Eggleston for encouraging Federal Way High School students to explore STEM through IGNITE.

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:

“This inspired me to be more confident in myself. It showed me that even though I’m a girl, they made it known that I can become an engineer. Thank you to the volunteers for giving their input.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

Today showed me that women can be in STEM, and we can do everything that I want. I got to experience something new.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me because it showed me that no matter the gender, anyone can do anything. Also, today showed me that STEM is a great program and it would be fun to get into. I’m thankful for the volunteers who took their time to make this possible for us students.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

This event showed me how much stuff goes into building and just how things work.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

Seeing how building are built and the panel discussion were very motivational.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to keep moving forward and don’t let anyone intimidate me about what I would like to do after high school. All the panelists had to work hard to get to where they’re at right now.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

“There were a lot of women in this field and everyone is well-put together. I liked what the CEO shared how she found hope after thinking her life didn’t have any.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

It was very inspiring hearing different opinions and different experiences. Also, having to build the bridge helped us understand how much work went into it. There are many different options and ways to get to where the volunteers are now.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

This event made me feel good and taught me more about engineering.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

“This event was really nice, and the people were kind. The event was very educational. Thanks to the volunteers, I am now more confident to pursue STEM careers.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

It made me confident in pursuing a major in STEM. Money and opportunities will come through; I just have to be passionate. It is possible to be in the STEM field and there are options; don’t close your doors.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

About WSP:

WSP is one of the world’s leading engineering and professional services firms. Their 66,500 passionate people are united by the common purpose of creating positive, long-lasting impacts on the communities we serve through a culture of innovation, integrity, and inclusion. With 14,000 professionals across the United States, they are dedicated to their local communities and propelled by international brainpower.

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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