Microsoft User Experience Workshop at Meeker Middle School

Meeker Middle School welcomed Volunteers from Microsoft on March 28, 2024, for an IGNITE Program Workshop on User Experience (UX) Design. Led by Elizabeth Maher, this event brought together students and Microsoft professionals for a day of learning. The event also featured a panel discussion with Genevieve Warren, Senior Content Developer, Joyce Bacic and Regina Yap, both Software Engineers, and Pepsy Wirth, Senior Business Manager. The Workshop was an exciting blend of expertise and fun for the IGNITE Students.

The first part of the day was a hands-on experience that empowered students to dive into the world of UX design. Guided by the Activity Leaders, students were tasked with creating app prototypes tailored to different personas such as parents, pets, grandparents, and students. This approach not only sparked creativity but also encouraged empathy-driven design thinking. The students brainstormed features that would resonate with their chosen personas, exploring various app functionalities from travel to social media and music. With each wireframe iteration, students honed their problem-solving skills and gained a deeper understanding of user-centered design principles.

The activity was collaborative, with both the volunteers and students, which made the students feel supported as they navigated the design process. They presented their prototypes to the group, showcasing their newfound knowledge of UX design principles.

After the activity portion of the event, the students had a chance to hear from the Panelists. During the discussion, each Panelist shared their personal and professional experiences with students before fielding questions and imparting advice.

The Workshop’s impact extended beyond the event itself, with many students continuing to refine their app designs after the event concluded. The students’ enthusiasm underscored the importance of hands-on STEM experiences combined with the opportunity to meet role models in STEM careers.

Thank you to Elizabeth Maher for helping to organize this event and providing students with hands-on experience as an Activity Leader. Thank you to Genevieve Warren, Joyce Bacic, Regina Yap, and Pepsy Wirth for your invaluable contributions as Panelists and Activity Leaders. Special thanks to Educator Jenifer Wu for her encouragement and support of IGNITE Students.

After attending this event:


of students are interested in STEM

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

I enjoyed when all the volunteers talked about how they got into Microsoft and all the other things they shared. It inspired me to set up where I want to be when I grow up and get a job.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

What I really enjoyed from this event was the women’s stories and being able to ask questions about their jobs. It inspired me to know that other people’s lives can be different in their own ways and still be successful.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

I most enjoyed having the perspectives and stories of real people in STEM and how people from all walks of life can have a career in computer science.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

It made me interested in Microsoft, and I loved hearing the volunteers’ stories and their confidence. One thing I learned is never give up; you can do anything being a woman.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

I loved everybody’s stories about how they got into STEM.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“I liked it when we made our own app.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“I enjoyed when everyone shared how they came to Microsoft.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

The panelists inspired me a lot with their journeys.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I liked when we worked together in groups. Everyone did really well.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I enjoyed when the volunteers were telling us about how they got their jobs and the struggles they went through.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“Designing an app was fun; we used each other’s ideas to contribute. Another highlight was hearing how everyone had their experience before getting to this route of their career and life.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

It showed me how many opportunities there are in STEM, along with pros and cons. I was also excited to learn that art/design is now a part of STEM/STEAM.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

The highlights I enjoyed from today’s event were hearing everyone’s stories, and that really inspired me to learn more about computer science and look for resources.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

I enjoyed learning about designing and being around other girls.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“I enjoyed hearing STEM stories.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I enjoyed learning about the STEM field and asking STEM-related questions to further my education.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I enjoyed hearing the women’s stories, and it inspired me to think about joining STEM.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“I loved how we designed apps. I have always been interested in graphic design for years.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

It was inspiring to hear about the stories of the women who worked their way into Microsoft and faced challenges to get into the company.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I loved how the people who worked at Microsoft were sharing their stories. They were funny and nice to listen to. It inspires me to join Microsoft and one day share my story like that.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“I liked when we got to ask questions and when we did the activity. I also found their stories very interesting.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I liked getting to ask questions to the panel and at the end when I started designing an app. This event brought to my attention that this could be an option in college.” – 6th Grade IGNITE Student

I liked that I got to learn about the many opportunities in STEM. The volunteers had many different backgrounds of stories to get into their career.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

The stories of the volunteers and how they got into Microsoft inspired me. I liked trying to design an app, hearing more about Microsoft and the STEM industry, and learning about the hosts!” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“I learned that I can become an intern in college and get paid.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

I enjoyed listening to the volunteers’ stories and experiences.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

About Microsoft:

Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About IGNITE Program Workshop Events:

In-Person Workshops are held at the students’ school with a group of company volunteers. These volunteers lead students through a hands-on STEM experience in small groups and then students in an 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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