IGNITE Panel at TAF@Saghalie

An IGNITE Panel took place on April 16, 2024, at TAF@Saghalie in Federal Way, WA. The event consisted of STEM professionals from various renowned companies, including Fawn Sanchez, Principal Learning Business Partner at Amazon; Natalie Lindula, Principal Content Designer at REI; Sarah Potter, Principal HW Engineering Program Manager at T-Mobile; Meaghan McClure, Solar Design Consultant at A&R Solar; and Farah Alqattan, Industry Professional, Women in Cybersecurity.

The event started with an engaging introduction session, where students learned facts about women in STEM and the stark underrepresentation of women of color in these fields. This eye-opening session set the stage for the stories shared by the Panelists, who candidly discussed their journeys and the hurdles they overcame to reach their current positions. The vulnerability displayed by the Panelists resonated with the students and made for a comfortable environment for them to ask questions during the subsequent Q&A session.

Throughout the panel discussion, students posed questions ranging from overcoming imposter syndrome to navigating interviews and preparing for a future in higher education. The Panelists provided advice, emphasizing the importance of mentorship, resilience, and embracing one’s unique skills and experiences. They encouraged students to explore diverse career paths, highlighting the versatility of a STEM background in any field.

Panelists fielded inquiries about job interviews and choosing the right educational path. They stressed the significance of adaptability and urged students to remain open to new opportunities and self-discovery. Additionally, they emphasized the universal applicability of STEM knowledge, underscoring its relevance in various professions. They also addressed concerns about work-life balance and offered practical advice on navigating challenges in the job market. Finally, Volunteers encouraged students to leverage their personal narratives and apply for diverse positions to gain experience and expand their networks. The message of self-belief and resilience resonated strongly with the students, empowering them to pursue their aspirations with confidence.

Overall, the event provided a platform for students to gain knowledge, dispel myths, and see their own potential in pursuing careers in STEM. 

Thank you to the Panelists who generously shared their time and expertise: Fawn Sanchez, Natalie Lindula, Sarah Potter, Meaghan McClure, and Farah Alqattan. We also extend our thanks to Counselor Maria Otero and Educator Jeah Sam for their dedication, support, and commitment to fostering student growth and learning through the IGNITE Program.

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


of students gained perspective and feel more hopeful about the future

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

I’m inspired by all the amazing women of color who have the job I want. I feel much more prepared for interviews and for being a programmer. I feel much more knowledgeable about how to prepare myself. I also loved learning about the different types of jobs.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

This event showed me that anyone can work in STEM and that gender doesn’t matter. My favorite thing I learned today was the advice they gave us. I liked how they all had different perspectives.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“This event inspired me by showing how their jobs are unique, how much they like their jobs, how they got their jobs, and how their jobs are at a higher level than the ones I’m considering. My favorite thing was the advice about life and jobs, and thinking about whether we really want to pursue them in the future.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me not to be shy about my dream job. It helped me feel better about possibly changing my mind about my profession. I really liked talking about mechanical engineering.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me because it showed more about STEM. It was also cool because everyone who shared their past was interesting. I was inspired by all of them being here. I really liked learning about the calculator. I also liked hearing a little about Amazon.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

It was great talking to women in different fields. Talking to them inspired me, and I learned a lot. A quote someone said today really stuck with me: ‘Asking for help is NOT a failure!’” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“The event today inspired me because I would like to try to do something to help people. I learned why people choose their careers and about their backgrounds.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to pursue and think more about other careers. My favorite thing I learned today was that they all have different majors.” – 8th 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.

Host an IGNITE Event | Read More Post-Event Reports