Women in STEM Panel at Nautilus K-8

On March 1, 2024, Nautilus K-8 in Federal Way, WA, hosted an in-person IGNITE Panel Event. Esteemed STEM professionals from F5 and ESM Consulting Engineers, LLC, joined the occasion with 23 enthusiastic students from grades 6 to 8 in attendance.

The event kicked off with Estelle Jochel, Director of Privacy and Data Enablement at F5, and Laura Bartenhagen, Principal at ESM Consulting Engineers, LLC, sharing insights into their respective careers. Students were treated to a firsthand account of the professional journeys of these accomplished women, exploring topics ranging from educational pathways to work-life balance. With curiosity fueling the atmosphere, students had the opportunity to ask questions about the Panelists’ academic timelines, career choices, initial job experiences, and even inquiries about work schedules and compensations.

The students were intrigued by the panelists’ narratives, and related to stories of perseverance and determination. The advice offered by the Panelists helped to instill a sense of empowerment and possibility in the students.

As the event unfolded, it became evident that the real magic of the event lay in the exchange of experiences and aspirations that may not have been possible without this event experience. The Panelists’ personal anecdotes and candid discussions helped the students present to be able to see a possible future in STEM!

Thank you to the Panelists, Estelle Jochel and Laura Bartenhagen, for graciously lending their expertise and time to inspire the students of Nautilus K-8 Middle School. We also extend our sincerest thanks to Educator Ashley Richards for her dedication and support in providing such amazing encouragement to 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

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

This event inspired me by showing me more women are going to STEM jobs, so I can too.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

This event made me want to be part of the minority and be a female of color in STEM.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me because I learned that STEM has good jobs!” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me because I learned that STEM was a good industry to join.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event made me realize that STEM is a possible opportunity for me to get a job. Some of my big takeaways were that France has free college education and that people in STEM make a lot of money.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

I learned more about job opportunities and about STEM field jobs. I also learned that France has free universities.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“I was inspired by how much you can get paid in STEM, and was shown that you can be anything you want.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

This event showed me new opportunities in the future. Hearing that the volunteers getting paid a lot of money was reassuring.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

Today helped me learn more about STEM.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me that more women need to help and work in STEM.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

It was inspiring when the panelists were talking about their past when they were growing up. It made me want to be responsible like them.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me to follow my dreams to go into a STEM job. I have always loved STEM ever since I was little. My biggest takeaways were that I can do the job I love and though these jobs are hard, they are worth it and pay well.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to keep doing school. One big takeaway was as long as you work or get the task done you are good. I really loved this.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me to look into and be more interested in STEM work fields and activities. It was a very successful panel. Hearing about the low percentage of women in STEM, hearing about different occupations and pay was interesting.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I learned that working in STEM can pay well and has good hours.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me because maybe I will like doing STEM and I could do it and get money. Thank you for coming and teaching me.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me to pursue architecture and to do STEM-related events and projects. Follow your dreams and study hard.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I like how the panel explained how things happened to them in life. I always wanted to be a warehouse worker and now I know I can.” – 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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