Just like signing days for athletes, the second-annual Washington STEM Signing Day celebrated high school seniors from across the state as they made their commitments to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at some of the state and country’s top technical schools, colleges, and universities.
This year the event, which is a partnership between Washington STEM and Boeing, was held in the state capitol building in Olympia, Wash. A total of 49 Washington students, one from each legislative district in the state, were honored as they signed ceremonial letters of intent showing their dedication to STEM fields. The day began with the students being recognized for their hard work on Senate floor.
“Being in the chamber, it showed me that I could one day be there,” said Precious Jane Stowers, a senior at Bremerton High School who will be studying computer science when she heads to the University of Washington. “Or, (it shows that) I can one day make an impact that will go there.”
Ted Colbert, Boeing Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, congratulated the students and urged them to find mentors who will support them throughout their educational and professional journeys. “The theme today is STEM signing,” said Colbert. “We watch these future athletes sign, today you guys are the future athletes. You are the future technology, science and math athletes of our world.”
“You all – you’re the stories that represent the future of Washington state, and it is a bright future,” said Dr. Jenee Myers-Twitchell, Washington STEM Impact Director.
The students say it was exciting to meet their state legislators and to be recognized for all of their hard work.
“Having these people to support you, it kind of helps reassure you that if I was interested in it, I can do this,” said Meleeha Nizar, a senior at Kent-Meridian High School who committed to study medical sciences at the University of Washington.
“I am disabled, and throughout most of my life I was doubted by a lot of people,” said Rudy Garcia III, who is finishing up at Delta High School in Pasco, Wash. “And so being able to come here and being recognized for how much I’ve done – it’s kind of like being up on a pedestal and saying, ‘Yes – I did it!.”
By Josh Green