The IGNITE Program: Staff Reflects on Its Impact

As IGNITE Worldwide continues to expand its reach and impact, it’s become more important to share the profound influence the IGNITE Program has on the students it serves. From shifting perspectives to fostering newfound confidence, IGNITE Program Events create transformative moments that reach beyond the classroom.

IGNITE Program Director, Amber Zertuche, recounts a moment during an IGNITE Field Trip at Lucasfilm that encapsulates the Program’s impact, “A shy student, initially reserved throughout the trip, experienced a transformation when handed the tools to create and innovate. Witnessing her newfound enthusiasm and engagement with her peers was a testament to the power of encouragement and exposure. Such moments are not just about experiencing STEM subjects, but also about realizing one’s potential to be a part of its evolution.”

The broader impact of the IGNITE Program extends far beyond the individual Program Events. Introduction to STEM fields and role models empower students to break free from conventional norms and inspires them to explore their passions. By showcasing diverse career paths and encouraging hands-on experiences, IGNITE instills a sense of possibility and agency in students who engage in the IGNITE Program. Whether it’s creating an interest in engineering classes or a curiosity for technology, the Program paves the way for personal and academic growth that may not have come to fruition without it.

What sets IGNITE apart is its ability to accessibly effect change in real-time. By providing the IGNITE Program at no cost to public school students during the school day, there are no barriers to participation, including transportation availability and socioeconomic status. As students interact with IGNITE Volunteers and engage in activities, the shift in their demeanor speaks volumes.

Zertuche’s firsthand experience as both an IGNITE Educator and now as Program Director at IGNITE underscores the profoundness of these moments. Reflecting on her journey with IGNITE, she emphasizes the transformative power of the Program in shaping the lives of students from under-resourced communities. Having witnessed countless pivotal moments and feedback from students over the years, she recognizes the significance of her role in facilitating these experiences. For Amber, being on the frontline of IGNITE’s mission is a deeply fulfilling endeavor—one that aligns with her passion for providing opportunities and making a meaningful impact on the world.

There’s still a lot more work to do to balance gender inequities in STEM, but seeing the change Program Events make on the girls and gender-diverse students who participate is proof of the necessity of the IGNITE Program. Because IGNITE Worldwide takes into account the possible roadblocks—from societal to circumstantial–and removes those barriers, it provides programming that is and will continue to work towards closing the gender gap in STEM.

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