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Category: Women in Technology

IGNITE: Brighter Future Fundraising Walk

I write about IGNITE a good deal because it’s a cause close to my heart, and I also serve as an executive board member for the organization. It’s a difficult time in our history – we were founded with funding from the Seattle School District as a nonprofit organization, and due to educational funding cuts we must now make our financial way independently. It’s now necessary for us to conduct a capital campaign to stay afloat.

To kick off our capital campaign, we’re sponsoring the first annual “Women and Girls Walking Together for a Brighter Future” event, where current students and adults passionate about the cause will walk together on a 3-mile quest to raise money for IGNITE.

IGNITE a Brighter Future Walk
Sunday, June 5th
Nathan Hale High School, Seattle WA
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Please consider joining us – but even if you can’t, please consider making a donation to support my walk or one of our students. Every little bit helps in this challenging time for our organization, and it makes a huge difference to the girls.

We have an over 10-year history of impacting tens of thousands of girls – not just in Seattle, but across the country and now the world. We’ve formed chapters from Seattle to New York State, and we are now working with fledgling chapters in Nigeria. Discussions are underway to form other international chapters in countries like Egypt, Libya, and England. It’s an incredible opportunity to make a difference in womens’ lives across the world – we’re extremely passionate about increasing our reach in the US, but we also have the rare chance to also impact young women who face even more cultural bias than we do.

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On the other side of the field trip

Another key part of the Seattle-area IGNITE experience is the class field trip to work locations. A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a panel for an IGNITE class here on a field trip. Around here, Microsoft is the most frequent destination of choice – we can pull out all the stops with things like the Home of The Future tour, an interactive installation designed to mock up – shockingly – the uses of technology in homes 5-10 years out. Typically by invitation only, but a great way to spark an imagination. (But I don’t want that to discourage anyone who wants to help by hosting their own class tours… remember that ALL of this is new for these girls. How often did you get to see a workplace without your parents?)

This most recent panel, a Microsoft on-campus field trip panel for Marysville High School, was actually surprising for me because there were quite a few boys in attendance. Nothing wrong with that, but always a surprise since IGNITE is focused on encouraging girls to pursue careers in technology. I have to admit, my first reaction was trepidation – my memory of high school boys is not a forgiving one, and I was worried they’d be disruptive or disrespectful. I was delighted to find that not only were the guys in attendance polite, but very attentive and they asked some very good questions during Q&A. While I still believe our primary methods (girls-only activities) are useful and valid because they create a safe place where girls can explore and have a voice without being drowned out, it’s a nice surprise to be able to share with both genders for a change. Continue reading On the other side of the field trip

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Seattle IxDA – Women in Design event

I’m delighted to announce that I will be speaking at the next Seattle meeting of the Interaction Design Association! “Women in Design” Wednesday, May 11 University of Washington Campus Electrical Engineering building, room 105 7:30 PM – doors open at 7PM Flyer: click here I’ll be delivering an updated/expanded version of my Computer Engineer Barbie talk, and will be participating in a panel discussion with Jenny Lam, co-founder and designer at the Jackson Fish Market, a software startup. If you have any questions you’d like to see answered, leave a comment here – if there’s time, I’d love to continue the…

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Demystifying Job Shadows

They’re a rather mysterious concept out of context – after all, I never did a job shadow when I was growing up or even when I was in college. The closest I ever got was visiting my dad’s engineering firm, running around, playing on the computers and being AMAZED at all the choices of beverages he stocked. (How prophetic, since almost every place I’ve ever worked is a member of the free-soda-and-assorted-beverages club.) And I think that’s part of what can make it difficult to find volunteers for job shadows – the uncertainty of “What on earth would I do with…

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