Amazon Web Services (AWS) Field Trip with MacArthur High School

On March 26, 2024, IGNITE Worldwide held a Field Trip at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Arlington, VA location. The day brought together MacArthur High School students and Volunteers from AWS, also referred to as Amazonians, for an immersive exploration of technology and career opportunities. The event was Facilitated by Gerry Brooks, Site Lead of the AWS Skills Center Arlington, with Greeters Tressie Thomas and Luna Marks welcoming the students to the event. This Field Trip included a tour of the facilities as well as a panel discussion with Gianna De-Jong-Kaiser, Risk Intelligence Analyst, and Brenna McGahan, Cloud Consultant, who added valuable insights to the day’s activities.

To start, students embarked on a journey through the Cloud Discovery Space, an interactive exhibit showcasing the innovative applications of cloud services in various industries, from gaming to space exploration. A highlight of this portion of the event was a scavenger hunt, where students explored exhibits and learned about the pivotal role of data centers in modern technology. Guided by enthusiastic Amazonians, they delved into the intricacies of machine learning, smart homes, robotics, and more, gaining a firsthand look into the possibilities that technology offers.

The panel discussion provided students with invaluable perspectives on navigating careers in male-dominated STEM industries. Students had the opportunity to ask the Panelists questions about the challenges and rewards of working in tech and got practical advice and encouragement from the seasoned professionals. The engaging dialogue underscored the importance of pursuing one’s passions and embracing opportunities for growth.

The Educators highlighted the event’s positive impact on students, expressing gratitude for the enriching experience and eagerly anticipating future opportunities. From the company’s perspective, the enthusiasm and engagement of the students during the scavenger hunt reaffirmed the value of hands-on learning experiences in sparking interest in STEM industries.

Thank you to all the incredible Volunteers and Educators who made our event at the AWS Skills Center Arlington possible. To Gerry Brooks, your guidance as our Facilitator was invaluable in keeping everything running smoothly. Tressie Thomas and Luna Marks, your warm welcomes as Greeters set the tone for a fantastic day. Gianna De-Jong-Kaiser and Brenna McGahan, your expertise as Panelists brought depth and insight to our discussions. Special appreciation goes to Angelique Sykes for supporting and encouraging her students to learn and experience STEM.

After attending this event:

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:

What inspired me is knowing that women are being more accepted in STEM careers. Another thing that has inspired me was hearing how someone wasn’t into it and then instantly became someone whose career is based on IT.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“I enjoyed this event. They told us about how they started out and how they got comfortable in STEM. I learned how to work an Alexa.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

It made me feel confident and secure in wanting a job in STEM. I learned what cloud computing is and what jobs are in that field.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

This event inspired me to try more different things in STEM. My favorite thing I learned today was learning about Luna.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

“If I get into STEM, I would do biomedical engineering.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

“It was fun. I had a good time and I learned stuff. It was nice to know more about STEM. I liked learning about the home control system and the driving system thing.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me because they had women to influence me.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

The volunteers’ experience, how they went through the things they did, what helped them accomplish the thing they did inspired me. One of my favorite things I’ve learned is how to push through, and things will get easier.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today was great. I discovered the games and the global cloud. I like the house and the games.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“I got to hear the volunteers speak about their experiences. I learned how they learned and adapted to their environment in STEM and how they got the confidence for it all.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

My experience today inspired me because it helped me understand more about different careers you can do after college and in college. I also got to hear different points of view. My favorite thing I learned about were the guest speakers and their experiences in college and before and the jobs.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

It showed me that I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

About Amazon Web Services (AWS):

Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any workload, and it now has more than 240 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, media, and application development, deployment, and management from 105 Availability Zones within 33 geographic regions, with announced plans for 18 more Availability Zones and six more AWS Regions in Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and the AWS European Sovereign Cloud. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs.

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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