Washington high school seniors honored for their commitment to pursue STEM education and careers

STEM Signing at the VMAC

High school seniors from across Washington state received honors from Boeing, Partnership for Learning, and Tallo during a Washington State STEM Signing Day event in Seattle, on June 4. The event recognized students committed to pursuing science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) after high school.

Just like college signing days for athletes, the event showcased the next generation of STEM leaders. Each honoree signed a letter indicating their intent to pursue STEM at a college or university. The Washington high school seniors were selected based on their accomplishments and involvement in STEM education.

Elected officials joined education, community, and business leaders in the ceremony to recognize these students’ dedication to innovation and their drive to make Washington’s future brighter.

“As we gather to celebrate the hard work and potential of these ambitious future STEM leaders, we are filled with inspiration, hope, and optimism,” said Gina Breukelman, Senior Manager, Northwest Region, Boeing Global Engagement. “Each of these students has put in the work both academically and individually to identify a STEM field that excites them, and that’s no easy feat. I am confident that their journeys and careers will play a pivotal role in positively shaping our communities and our future.”

Washington honorees joined the ranks of many high school seniors celebrated at similar events nationwide this spring. These Washington students plan to study many STEM subjects, including aerospace engineering, astrophysics, cybersecurity, chemistry, and more. They plan to attend colleges and universities in Washington and beyond, including the University of Washington, Central Washington University, Everett Community College, Princeton, Caltech, and others.

Boeing has been a proud supporter of STEM Signing Day since 2017. Through community engagement efforts like this, the company seeks to support increased awareness of high-demand credentials and career-connected curriculum. Boeing contributed more than $19 million to support education, workforce programs, and public universities in Washington state in 2022.


First Name Last Name High School
Adonis Kasperski Orcas Island High School
Alex Estoy Glacier Peak High School
Alexander Schwieger Snohomish Senior High School
Angelina Besana Spanaway Lake High School
Archit Kumar Glacier Peak High School
Bahadir Keremoglu Kentridge Highschool
Beckham Segura Glacier peak Highschool
Betul Demir Bothell High School
Brady Pietz Sammamish High School
Bryant Le Grover Cleveland STEM High School
Calum Weston Okanogan High School
Cliffton Hedwood II Graham-Kapowsin High School
Cody Hunt Yelm High school
Cristobal Rebolledo Delta High School
Daniel Bekele Everett High School
Diego Fonzseau Everett High School
Gabriella Rebutiaco Auburn High School
Harini Thiagarajan North Creek High School
Helin Taskesen Cleveland STEM High School
Howard Cheng James A. Garfield High School
Jasmine Phillips Hanford High School
Jonathan Chu King’s High School
Julia Guske Lacrosse High school
Kevin Nguyen Hanford High School
Lauren Selin Shorecrest High School
Lilia Freire North Creek High School
Lillian Fairchild Skyview High School
Nikhita Penugonda Interlake High School
Paytin Kupferer Foster High School
Pierce Bader The Bear Creek School
Pranavi Rohit Eastlake High School
Roman Todd Delta High School
Rosie Yates Homeschool
Samuel Atuyota Bellevue Big Picture School
Sarah Webb Enumclaw Sr High School
Soranarith Sophan Everett High School
Xavier Nishikawa Bellevue Big Picture School
WA State STEM Signing Day honorees in a group photo at a celebration event on June 4, at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC).

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For Katelyn Bartel, now a student at Eastern Washington University, the internship was life changing.

“This really opened my eyes into what I could be doing with my life. It makes me more motivated when I go to school because I know that there’s something that I’m working towards. It gives me more of a goal.”

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Washington employers will create an estimated 373,000 net new jobs in our state by 2026. Seventy percent of these jobs are expected to require or be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Bur our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment. Further, the pandemic has driven alarming drops in postsecondary education enrollment.

Our new case study explores flexible learning models that are driving up postsecondary enrollment. One particularly bright success story comes from the all-virtual Western Governors University in Washington (WGU Washington).  From 2011 to 2019, WGU Washington grew from less than 1,000 to 12,000 students. As of March 2021, there were 13,905 students attending WGU Washington, and enrollment had grown 15.8% in just the last two years.  By comparison, nearly all of Washington’s public two- and four-year institutions experienced enrollment declines during the same time period.

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‘You belong in science:’ Fred Hutch builds education pathways

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Yusuf remembers learning about robotics and computer science in middle school. “It clicked with me,” he says. “I was good at it, and I enjoyed it.”

During 10th grade at Sammamish High School, Yusuf’s AP chemistry teacher urged him to apply to the two-week Pathways Research Explorers Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The program provides high school students from underrepresented communities an immersive, hands-on introduction to cancer biology, lab activities, and research careers.

“I was smiling the whole time. I was having fun,” Yusuf says. “I met a computational biologist while they were explaining what they did. I thought, that’s what I want to do.”

The Pathways Research Explorers Program is a launchpad for many students who go on to participate in Fred Hutch’s more intensive programs as they progress through their academic experiences. Students conduct scientific experiments related to cancer and talk to scientists in various positions, including people from groups systematically marginalized and excluded from research.

After learning about computational biology, Yusuf completed a yearlong internship with Fred Hutch in 11th grade. Through regular meetings with his mentor, a computational biologist, Yusuf learned about both coding and biology, and used machine learning to analyze COVID-19 data.

“It was a new experience that I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else,” Yusuf says.

“You belong in science”

Through science education outreach, Fred Hutch – a member of the Washington Roundtable, of which Partnership for Learning is the education foundation – actively works to recruit, support, and retain high school and undergraduate students from communities underrepresented in scientific research. Students gain hands-on STEM experience while receiving career guidance and mentorship. Program participants become cancer researchers, computer engineers, and more. The programs also serve as a way for Fred Hutch to build a diverse pool of scientific researchers and engage communities across the state.

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Washington employers are expected to create 373,000 net new jobs in our state over the next five years. An estimated 70% of these jobs will require or be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. But our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment, and the pandemic has driven alarming drops in postsecondary enrollment.

Our new report explores how earning college credit while in high school can help Washington students succeed in post-high school education, examines how to increase equity in dual credit participation, and spotlights a successful partnership between Wenatchee Valley College and Bridgeport High School.

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Career Connect Washington Program Directory

To make it easier for young people to access local programs and pathways to economic success, Career Connect Washington has created an online, statewide directory of all levels of career connected learning opportunities. This directory is designed to be used by students, families, young adults, educators, and school counselors—in short, anyone who is in a position to help people between 15-30 prepare for their Next Big Thing.

The Career Connect Washington Program Directory allows users to search by interest, location, and intensity level. They can also filter their results by education level, program type, and wage range, and have the ability to connect to support resources.

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The leadership demands of running a company and running a high school are more similar than one might expect. From personnel management and budgeting to healthy culture and handling crises, CEOs and high school principals share much in common.

This is one theme principals and business leaders have explored through the Chief Education Officer Network, a two-year program that provides professional and leadership development for a cohort of high school principals from across Washington state. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings principals together for a series of two-day workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. It also individually matches each of the principals with a senior executive from Washington’s private sector for one-on-one discussions and support.Read More