Congratulations to the next generation of STEM leaders

Filed Under: Blog

The future is bright for Washington students, who have big dreams for their futures. High school seniors graduating this year are pursuing paths in many high-demand fields, from nursing and medicine to wireless security and computer engineering. Opportunity awaits: in the coming years, Washington employers are expected to create 373,000 net new jobs, many of which will require or be filled by people who complete a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate.

Forty-nine Washington state students who are planning to pursue STEM credentials recently received special honors from Boeing during Washington State STEM Signing Day on May 19. The annual event recognizes students who are committing to study a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) discipline after high school.

Just like college signing days for athletes, the next generation of STEM leaders signed a letter of intent to pursue a two- or four-year credential in a STEM field. The Washington state high school seniors were chosen based on their accomplishments and involvement in STEM education. Leaders in education, business, and communities around the state joined Boeing in recognizing these students’ hard work and drive for success in the virtual ceremony.


Students are excited about their futures in STEM for many reasons.

“I’m excited that I’ll be a part of a community that brings positive change to the world by solving the issues we face today,” says Mohamed Ilyas, a senior at Raisbeck-Aviation High School who plans to study biology.

Engaging with systems security excites Aric Gaffke, a second-year student at the Pierce County Skills Center who plans to attend Clover Park Technical College in the fall. “I’m also intrigued about wireless security and how it will compare to physical security as wireless because more prevalent in our modern society,” Aric says.

“What I’m most excited about my future in STEM is the goals I’m planning to achieve and what I could do with the information I will learn,” says Isabel Chavarin, a senior at Fife High School who plans to study chemical engineering at Washington State University.

WATCH: Students share their excitement about STEM pathways

Boeing leaders applauded the students’ hard work and aspirations to careers in STEM fields.

“Celebrating the next generation of STEM leaders is inspiring and hopeful,” said Gina Breukelman, senior manager, Northwest Region, Boeing Global Engagement. “You have worked so hard to explore your interests and embark on a journey toward a STEM career. Thank you for your passion and ingenuity. Our communities and future are brighter because of you.”

Washington’s honorees were among more than 600 students honored at similar events nationwide this spring. These Washington students plan to study many STEM subjects, including air traffic control, astrophysics, chemical engineering, computer science, medicine, neuroscience, statistics and more. They plan to attend colleges and universities in Washington and beyond, including the University of Washington, Washington State University, Lower Columbia College, Pacific Lutheran University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

WATCH: Washington 2022 STEM Signing Day virtual event


Sanjida Affrin Franklin High School
Ahmad Al Ghifari Kent-Meridian High School
Maram Bouhdache CHOICE Academy
Isabel Chavarin Fife High School
Ian Clark Bellevue High School
Kaitlynn Cross Summit Virtual Academy
Austin Dillinger Eisenhower High School
Zoe Durand White River High School
Megan Fownes Kamiak High School
Aric Gaffke Challenger Secondary School
Gavin Giesbrecht Central Kitsap High School
Marlene Gonzalez Moya Wenatchee High School
Bebe simone Hart Timberline High School
Diana Hernandez Royal High School
Kreslyn Hinds Squalicum High School
Michael Ibrahim North Creek High School
Mohamed Ilyas Raisbeck Aviation High School
Rachel Jones Lynden High School
Phoenix Joraa Klahowya Secondary
Shirley Kaikai Kamiak High School
Ashley Kao Sammamish High School
Emily Kao Sammamish High School
Devon Leigh Joel E. Ferris High School​
Zachary Mahar Olympia High School
Kha Ngo R A Long High School
Anna Nguyen International Community School
Johlesa Orm Lindbergh Senior High School
Alex Philbrick Fife High School
Milan Rahmani Ballard High School
Dipsika Rasaily Auburn Mountainview High School
Alyssa Retchless Bonney Lake High School
Stella Rillie Science and Math Institute
Siena Roberts Lewis and Clark High School
Caleb Roberts Kamiak High School
Jeselle Romero Olympia High School
Thalisa Saldivar Toppenish High School
Maurisio Sanchez AC Davis High School
Kameron Scott Stanwood High School​
Olivia Snyder Mt. Spokane High School
Arshpreet Tagore Henry M Jackson High School
Mario Trujillo Toppenish High School
Alyssa Underwood Central Valley High School​
Sirjan Uppal North Creek High School
Hannah Van Mantgem Blaine High School (Washington)
Annette Van Niekerk Sehome High School
Tori Vandenbeld Woodinville High School
salma wairimu Curtis Senior High
Grace Wang Juanita High School
Kathleen Wilson Rochester High School