Y-WE’s STEAM Day Inspires the Next Generation of Professionals

On February 3, 2024, we hosted our annual STEAM Day at the Seattle Public Library in Downtown. STEAM Day is one of our biggest annual community events, and the intention is to provide an opportunity for young people to be exposed to new things and make meaningful connections with adults and each other. Women, trans, and gender expansive folks, especially BIPOC and queer folks, are historically underrepresented in STEAM fields, so it’s valuable for our youth to see themselves represented in adults from these professions. This year’s theme was “STEAM for social change,” focusing on how we can use science, technology, engineering, art, and math creatively to build the world we want to see. 

Photography by Muñoz Motions

Y-WE STEAM Day 2024 day kicked off with an energetic room full of around 115 young people who came from all over King County. We opened with delicious Filipino food and roundtable discussions. Youth chose a seat at one of 12 tables, each hosted by a professional in science, technology, engineering, art, or math. The hosts represented a wide variety of careers and specialties, including:

Annie Sing, Somatic Therapist and Ex-Software Engineer
Amy Issacson, Technical Program Manager at Pokemon
Lane Lindbloom, Logistics Coordinator at Pokemon
Ángel Quimbita, Program Manager at Sea Potential
Savannah Smith, Co-Founder of Sea Potential
Ashley Mocorro Powell, Environmental Justice Organizer
Dr. Natalie Garcia, Executive Director of Sustainable Seattle
Liz Holland, Director of UX Design Research
Mariajose Barrera, Mechanic
Sadie Houston, Tech Lawyer
Tiffany Barber, Marine Science Extraordinaire 
Gabriela Dunn, Aquatic Ecologist

Through Q&A style conversations, young people learned about the passions and career paths of each of these leaders in STEAM professions. The table hosts shared their professional and lived experience being a woman, trans, or gender expansive person in the STEAM world where diverse talent is still vastly underrepresented. These small group conversations allowed youth and adults to make meaningful connections that will last beyond STEAM Day. 

“I was able to connect with industry leaders and reach out to them after STEAM Day. The ability to stay in touch and ask questions was [a] super helpful and unique opportunity!!”

-Youth Participant

For the rest of the afternoon, we broke into interactive workshops and youth could choose two to attend. In these spaces, young people engaged in hands-on activities exploring a variety of STEAM subjects. One of the rooms transformed into a planetarium where Oge Okoronkwo, a PhD student in Astronomy Theory at the University of Washington, shared all about planets and stars. Another group worked together on an app design challenge, facilitated by Donny Brock, Art Director and Graphic Designer for the Seattle Seahawks. 

We also offered two workshops centered around environmental justice. The first one focused on neighborhood resilience hubs in the face of climate change, led by folks from The Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. The second workshop centered indigenous land & water practices of the Swinomish Nation, complete with homemade tea blends and facilitated by staff of The Common Acre.

Featuring a less-traditional STEAM career, our final workshop was led by artists and performers from The 5th Avenue Theater. They shared about their unique career paths and how important creativity is to the world of STEAM.

“The students [had] focus and attentiveness. They truly were invested and eager to learn!”

-Workshop facilitator

Thank you so much to all the amazing young people and inspiring adults who joined us for STEAM Day 2024! We are already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us for Career Day on April 27, where we’ll explore an even wider variety of professions. 

Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) cultivates the power of diverse young women and gender expansive youth to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers through transformative programs within a collaborative community of belonging. Join our community by making a donation to support our work with youth today.

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*those who identify as women, girls, trans, non-binary, or gender expansive