IGNITE Field Trip to F5 with Federal Way High School and Cedarcrest Middle School

On May 2, 2024, students from Federal Way High School and Cedarcrest Middle School participated in an exciting IGNITE Field Trip to the F5 Tower in downtown Seattle. A total of 35 students explored the impressive skyscraper, guided by F5 professionals. This event provided an immersive experience into the world of technology and STEM careers.

The day kicked off with a lobby tour introduction, setting the tone for the day’s adventure. Each floor showcased different aspects of F5’s operations and workplace culture. From the high-tech Cloud Room and SOC on the 47th floor to the Marketing Studio on the 41st floor, students got an up-close look at the various departments within the company.

One of the highlights was the tour of the “West neighborhood” on the 39th floor, which showcased F5’s innovative workplace design. Students were thrilled to visit the Hub on the 34th floor, which featured a ping pong area, and the game room on the 33rd floor. These stops illustrated F5’s commitment to creating a fun and engaging work environment. The tour continued in the Lab Server environment and Lab Mechanical System on the 25th floor, where students got to see the technical backbone of F5’s operations.

After the tour activities, the students heard from an inspiring panel featuring Roxy Stimpson, VP of Engineering, Ruva Chimedza, Data Quality Analyst, and Gowri Peddirisi, Senior Knowledge Engineer. The Panelists shared their personal journeys and career advice, emphasizing the importance of resilience and giving back to the community. One of the most impactful moments was when one of the panelists said she never let her height stop her from doing what she wanted!

The event was full of smiles and inspired conversation. Educators noted the students’ excitement and engagement, with one expressing, “Every middle school girl should come to this event next year!” A student remarked that the experience “gave me hope,” reflecting the positive influence of the visit.

Sincere thanks to the incredible Volunteers and Educators who made our event a success. Special thanks to our Tour Guides, Jason Dardis, Teresa Sutphin, and Seth Anderson, for their engaging and informative tours. Thank you for the event support from Magdalena Juarez, Tiago Silva, Luis DaSilva, Jeanette Marchand, and James Fuentes. A huge thank you to Charissa Upcroft for her exceptional leadership as our Facilitator and Event Lead. We are also grateful to our Panelists, Roxy Stimpson, Ruva Chimedza, and Gowri Peddirisi, for sharing their stories and careers with IGNITE Students. Lastly, our thanks go to the dedicated Educators, including Melissa Dilling, Ron Johnston, Christian Love, and Robin Coe from Marysville School District, and Nelly Rodgers and Charissa Eggleston from Federal Way Public Schools.

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:

“Today’s event made me feel like I can do this and that STEM feels more like a possibility. I also felt included by the representation.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

Everyone’s story helped motivate me to become an engineer.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

Today’s event inspired me to follow my dreams no matter what, and showed me that opportunities can get you places.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

This was honestly a great experience because I was able to just speak to women, especially Black women, to see their perspectives.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event was great. I appreciate the tour that F5 provided us today. I liked learning about the women in different kinds of careers.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

I learned how the whole system works and how important it is to have each other’s support. I also learned how STEM works and about the people who helped me.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“The people who came and spoke about their experiences were very inspiring. I loved learning about different experiences and seeing everything around us, especially the room.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today inspired me because it showed me the pros of going into STEM. STEM is very interesting and looks like a lot of fun. I thank the volunteers who came and talked to us today. They showed three different perspectives on what STEM is and how they made it to this point.” – 10th Grade IGNITE Student

“It inspired me to be confident and courageous, not to be afraid of my future. There are women who support you and understand the struggles we face as women trying to achieve jobs in male-dominated fields. It’s okay to reach for those hopes and aspirations. My favorite part of today was hearing the panelists talk about their experiences as women in this work, and how kind they were. I am very inspired to pursue jobs where women are not usually seen and to be okay with not knowing what I want to do right away, trying different things.” – 9th Grade IGNITE Student

I feel like it helped me learn more about tech and if I would like to work for a company like F5 in the future. I loved the views and how the company has rooms like game rooms. It’s not a normal office job where you’re in a cubicle all day.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me a lot. After meeting with the three wonderful women, they taught me and gave me a lot of advice. They truly taught me a lot. I hope they go even further in their careers. My favorite thing I learned was definitely how to be a woman in this career. My other favorite thing was learning how to get into F5.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

The panel did a lot for me; it led me to learn more about their backgrounds and that you don’t always have to choose and stick to a career. I also just loved learning about them and hearing their personal stories. Honestly, I just loved the experience of meeting new people and exploring work environments. Having that new social interaction with people who inspire others is just great.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“It allowed me to see how others made it into their STEM careers. It also allowed me to see what it would be like to pursue it as my own career. My favorite thing was seeing how flexible their schedules were. They were also very inclusive to other people of color.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

This event has inspired me by giving me a multi-perspective view on other careers of my interests. I liked learning about how everything works behind the scenes.” – 7th Grade IGNITE Student

I think it inspired me by showing how much these women talked about changing careers and keeping their options open. They shared some really great tips that could help those who want to pursue this career or explore their options. I liked learning about the people talking. At first, it can be more based on appearance until they start to share who they are and what they do. I think it’s really cool how people persevere through their challenges and grow.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event inspired me by teaching me about the work environment at F5. It allowed me to become more interested in becoming part of this workforce. My favorite thing I learned today was about the inclusivity. I also liked learning about the kitchens.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

It inspired me to explore STEM careers, as I never really thought about them much before. It has become a career path I want to explore more. I learned that there aren’t a lot of women of color in STEM. It shocked me that only 9% are women of color.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

“Today’s event made me feel more motivated to consider STEM careers. It also made me feel better about being a woman in STEM. My favorite thing I learned today was about the many different STEM careers I could consider in the future.” – 8th Grade IGNITE Student

About F5:

F5 is a multicloud application security and delivery company committed to bringing a better digital world to life. F5 partners with the world’s largest, most advanced organizations to secure every app—on premises, in the cloud, or at the edge. F5 enables businesses to continuously stay ahead of threats while delivering exceptional, secure digital experiences for their customers.

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 www.igniteworldwide.org.

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