Seattle Children’s Research Institute Field Trip with Rainier Beach High School

On February 6, 2024, Seattle Children’s Research Institute hosted students from Rainier Beach High School for an IGNITE Program Field Trip. The event included hands-on activities and a panel discussion featuring Jenny Smith, Data Scientist, Sr, Kiley Bijlani, Data Analyst, Sr, Julia Hayes, Clinical Systems Analyst, Sr, and Vicki Soucek, Sr Data Engineer.

The day kicked off with a dynamic data modeling simulation led by Volunteers, which delved into data science and analysis. The highlight of the activity was when students utilized the programming language R to create data models and maps based on a dataset about squirrels in Central Park. Under the guidance of the Volunteers, students started from scratch, importing the dataset and then coding to manipulate and visualize the data.

The activity wasn’t just about coding; it gave the students the opportunity to collaborate, problem-solve, and explore new ways to represent data. With each line of code, they were uncovering insights and building practical skills. The students successfully completed the activity, culminating in the creation of custom maps and tables that showcased their newfound understanding of data modeling.

After the activity portion of the event, the students engaged in a panel discussion. The Panelists shared their unique journeys and gave students insight into working in STEM.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Educators Kathy Beahn and Geoff Bolan, as well as the Volunteers from Seattle Children’s. Thank you to Facilitator and Event Sponsors Daksha Ranade, Mel Habrat, and Sean Taylor. Thank you to Amelia Carmon, Taylor Floyd, and Corinna Frenzl for greeting the students and helping with coordination, logistics and planning for this event. Additionally, thank you to Yeji Bae, Kiley Bijlani, and Vicki Soucek for helping with activity planning and leadership. Thank you to Miguel Junco Jr. and James Jackson for their roles in technology planning and support team. Lastly, a special thank you to the event’s Panelists Jenny Smith, Kiley Bijlani, Julia Hayes, and Vicki Soucek for sharing their careers and stories with IGNITE Students.

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:

“Today’s event inspired me because there are a lot of women in STEM fields doing technology and engineering, which fuels my pursuit of a career in STEM that I’ve always wanted.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

Seeing women in STEM telling us their stories made me more confident and eager to join STEM. I enjoyed the event.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to speak up more for myself. I was inspired by the women who talked about their paths. I really enjoyed the coding. It was really fun!” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

I learned that we need to be proud to be some of the only women in the room. I liked hearing from the panelists about their experiences.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me by showing me how many job openings there are in STEM, indicating it’s a great career right after college. It also inspired me to overcome challenges even if I don’t know where to start. My favorite thing I learned today was modifying the data!” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

Hearing about similar high school experiences was good. Learning about how computer science is growing and how maybe I should try it was interesting. The coding was fun.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event really pushed me to look more into STEM careers. I enjoyed learning that they didn’t have it as easy as I thought. My favorite thing today was the code panel. It was super cool, and I’m going to look into it more.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event was really great for people interested in STEM. They talked about it in real detail. My favorite thing was all the volunteers talking about how they figured out their future paths and their high school experiences.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

This event was nice and helpful, and so were the panelists.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

“It made me more confident and taught me it’s okay to fail a few times. Also, don’t let people bring you down because you could be good at something but that could hold you back. When you code, you can’t even make the simplest mistake because everything matters. My favorite thing was hearing the stories, and not to give up even if your grades are bad.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

After hearing some of the women’s stories, it has inspired me that I can do something like coding. It has made me realize that coding isn’t always difficult. I liked learning how to code and how small things like this field trip can lead me to a different career path.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to pursue my passions and never give up. It’s okay to fail; it teaches us to try our best. You will be successful.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“I had been interested in STEM for a while but didn’t know much about it and how it worked. After today’s event, I’ve learned a lot more about it. My favorite thing was the Q&A because it felt nice to be able to ask questions and get them answered by professionals.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

They shared some of their experiences and struggles to inspire us. I liked some of the coding.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

It taught me more about STEM and coding.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

This event taught me how to code.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

Today, I learned that it’s never too late to pursue something you’re passionate about. It was cool to learn about people’s life stories and their journeys into pursuing STEM.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

A lot of what the women talked about today has been inspiring to me because it makes me want to be more of a self-advocate. I’m used to being pretty quiet/afraid to talk about my future plans, and what I’ve heard from the stories has taught me I really can just step up and be proud of myself. My favorite thing we learned about is the varying experiences everyone had with the process of high school to college to a job. Some knew exactly what they wanted and some found their purposes over time. It was really interesting to me and makes me feel good about my future.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

I believe seeing how amazing these women are somehow made me more confident. They had different experiences and becoming who they are was important. Everyone here had different backgrounds, and it goes to show that you don’t have to be a certain thing to succeed.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

One of the volunteers said not to prioritize place over academics/school, which stuck with me. I really enjoyed the computer part. It was hard, but everyone was really nice, and I got it right at the end.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me by changing my perspective on STEM, and I’m more interested in it and I want to study more. My favorite thing I learned was computer science.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to do new things even though I might be by myself. I liked learning about coding and learning about new things.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

The stories of the professionals were very interesting and inspiring, and it also helped me be more hopeful for my future. It was really fun to code, and thank you to all the volunteers who helped me.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

“It was fun when we were coding. I learned a lot. My favorite thing was learning how to code.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me because there are a lot of women in STEM fields, doing technology and engineering, which fuels my pursuit of a career in STEM that I’ve always wanted. The coding activity with RStudio and looking at the data, visualization, and transformation.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

About Seattle Children’s:

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.

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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