STEM Conference Field Trip at Bates Technical College

The IGNITE Program visited Bates Technical College in Tacoma, WA on March 5, 2024, with 65 enthusiastic students from Auburn Mountainview High School and Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) Decatur, Federal Way, Thomas Jefferson, and Todd Beamer High Schools and Truman Career Academy attending the annual IGNITE STEM Conference at Bates Technical College. This event was a collaborative effort between IGNITE Worldwide, educational institutions, and industry leaders, featuring a stellar professional lineup including Bates faculty workshop instructors alongside Panelists from tech giants like Microsoft and AWS.

Students were greeted with an overview of Bates Technical College before diving into the immersive experience of three STEM programs. The Cybersecurity Workshop, led by Joseph Kauer, offered students a peek into the world of cybersecurity, complete with insights into roles like Cybersecurity Analyst and hands-on exposure to tools of the trade. Over in the Information Technology session, Ingrid Smith guided students through LAN networks, culminating in the exhilarating task of punching LAN cables alongside current IT students. The Mechanical Engineering workshop, steered by Curt Meyer, delved into the digital realm of engineering design, with students crafting their very own fidget spinners using computer-aided design.

Following these engaging sessions, the group reconvened for lunch and an insightful IGNITE Panel facilitated by Lee Williams, Career Advisor at Bates Technical College, and featuring STEM professionals–Kim Huynh, Security Research PM at Microsoft, Shaudé Moore, Global Program Manager at AWS, Lynn Pham, User Experience Researcher at SiteCrafting–plus a current Bates Information Technology Student, Martin G. Timbres. Notably, FWPS students were thrilled to discover that one of the Panelists, Shaudé, hailed from their own alma mater.

During the panel discussion, students posed thought-provoking questions, ranging from navigating male-dominated workplaces to choosing college majors. The advice offered was both empowering and practical, emphasizing the importance of finding supportive networks and being open to pivoting career paths when needed.

Educator feedback echoed the sentiment of empowerment and inspiration, highlighting the transformative impact of hands-on workshops. One heartwarming anecdote showcased a student’s newfound engagement and enthusiasm, catalyzed by the event, as she explored previously unconsidered STEM pathways.

Thank you to all those whose dedication and enthusiasm made the STEM Conference at Bates Technical College a resounding success. Thank you to Patricia Stewart and Cynthia Guidi for organizing the event, faculty workshop instructors Joseph Kauer, Ingrid Smith, and Curt Meyer, facilitator Lee Williams, and our esteemed Panelists Kim Huynh, Shaudé Moore, Lynn Pham, and Martin G. Timbres. Special gratitude is also to IGNITE Educators Karen Ainsworth, Joy Dickson, Alicia Luke, Renee Novak, and Nelly Rodgers for their support and commitment to empowering their 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:

This event inspired me by letting me know my career options are not limited.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

Today gave me a hands-on experience in a few STEM fields. It also gave me a chance to see and listen to professionals who have experience. This was inspiring as it motivated me to keep going.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

“This taught me there are a lot of jobs and a lot of strong women in STEM. It inspired me because their experiences were similar to mine and if they could, I could as well.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

“I had lost interest in technology during high school and chose not to pursue STEM. Today opened my eyes more to options available and what I could pursue.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

“This event has inspired me to stay focused on my goal regarding my career. I’m inspired to go to school and work towards something I want.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to try something new that I am not sure if I should pursue. Also to not let other people’s choices control my personal goal.” – 12th Grade IGNITE Student

I was inspired listening to the female speakers talk about their journey doing STEM.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me by giving me a better understanding of what Bates has to offer as well as STEM.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

Knowing there are not many women, especially African American/POC women in STEM inspires me to keep my options open. It also makes me want to learn more about STEM.” – 11th Grade IGNITE Student

“I feel a lot more confident in knowing what the STEM field is all about. Hearing people’s stories and what they do has really inspired me. I am now thinking about Mechanical Engineering.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

I feel very motivated to pursue my STEM degree. The cybersecurity class was SUPER informational.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

It made me feel really confident in potentially pursuing something in STEM.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me by showing many powerful women that one day I could be like. It also showed me the range of things there is to do in STEM.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me by teaching me more about the STEM field. Learning about wages, jobs, and pursuing careers made me more confident about going into STEM.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

About Bates Technical College:

Founded in 1940, Bates Technical College offers certificate and degree opportunities in 45+ career education programs. The college serves approximately 3,000 career training students and 7,000 more community members annually in extended learning, distance learning, high school, and other programs.

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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