Women in STEM Panel at Olympic View K-8

On February 1st, 2024, at Olympic View K-8 in Federal Way, WA, IGNITE Worldwide hosted an engaging In-Person Panel Event featuring professionals from esteemed companies such as Salesforce, Sitts and Hill, Amazon, and T-Mobile. The event aimed to inspire students to pursue  STEM careers, and featured an impressive lineup of Panelists, including Director of Engineering at Salesforce Mugdha Jamsendekar,  Architect Designer Sitts and Hill Betzabeé Brambila, Principal Learning Business Partner at Amazon Fawn Sanchez, and Senior UX Researcher at T-Mobile Veslava Ovendale with the assistance of Translator Lubia Urdaneta, Senior Technical Delivery Manager at Starbucks, providing a great experience for all 74 participating students.

The event started with the students being greeted by the accomplished professionals eager to share their journeys in STEM fields. The Panelists delved into their career trajectories, from the initial spark of interest to the challenges and triumphs of their current roles. Students were interested, asking the Panelists questions about their motivations, daily routines, and the pivotal moments that shaped their careers.

One standout aspect of the event was the excitement among the students, who absorbed the insights from the panel discussion. The exchange of ideas flowed seamlessly, with many students expressing a newfound interest in pursuing STEM pathways. A particularly memorable moment was when one Panelist distributed booklets and IGNITE stickers to the students.

Throughout the event, the students resonated with the importance of perseverance and staying true to one’s passions. The Panelists’ personal anecdotes about overcoming obstacles and embracing diversity left a lasting impression, emphasizing the value of resilience in achieving one’s goals. Furthermore, the emphasis on multilingualism underscored the diverse skill sets valued in STEM fields, encouraging students to embrace their abilities to speak multiple languages as assets in their future endeavors.

Through the insightful discussions and personal reflections shared by the Panelists, students departed with a new perspective of themselves and where they could fit into STEM!

Thank you to Panelists Mugdha Jamsendekar, Betzabeé Brambila, Fawn Sanchez, and Veslava Ovendale for sharing their careers and stories with IGNITE Students. Thank you to Lubia Urdaneta for translating the event and providing an equitable experience for each student present. Additionally, thank you to Educator Corie Hooker for recruiting and organizing this event (and many others).

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 event made me feel like I can do anything I want. I liked asking a question and all of the panelists answered. It was great seeing women in STEM. One liked to take apart her TV to see how it worked, and one worked at T-Mobile.” – 3rd Grade IGNITE Student

I learned more about STEM. I liked to ask questions and the ladies were so nice.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

Today inspired me because they gave me confidence. My favorite thing was learning about what the panelists’ jobs are.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

“It helped me, and it changed my perspective on STEM.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

“It inspired me by making me learn what I want to be. It made me feel I could do what I love. I love how they showed me and taught me to do what I want.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me to be more confident, and I learned more about STEM.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

The people were inspiring, and I learned that I can do anything.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me because STEM seems fun. My favorite thing was when I asked a question.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me by telling me that I can do it, that I should not think about the people who judge me, and that it is OK to be different from people. I learned that I can do whatever job that inspires me that I love to do in my time and that I can do what I do best for me.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

Today was fun and gave me courage. I think everything was my favorite and talking and when I stood up.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me by hearing stories and helping me know who I am. My favorite thing was when I was brave enough to talk.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

“Getting to know the people and their careers was fun. My favorite thing that I learned today is getting to know what the panelists like to do.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

I now know I want to build things. I liked hearing from the girl who took apart her mom’s microwave to see all the parts and their language.” – 4th Grade IGNITE Student

“This event was quite long and nice. I’m glad I learned how to prepare for a job. A favorite thing I learned was how to get opportunities.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

“Thank you. What I learned is to get a job.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

It made me think about what I want to be.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

“It was inspiring if you want to pursue a career in STEM. I saw that women matter.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student
This event gave me career choices.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

About IGNITE Program Panel Events:

Virtual or In-Person IGNITE Panels 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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