HARTLAND, Wis. — A student at Arrowhead High School was recently selected to participate in a congressional briefing.
When 12th grader Ava Ulatowski isn't roaming the halls of Arrowhead to get to her next class, she's attending a congressional briefing.
The virtual briefing, organized by national education nonprofit Project Tomorrow and The School Superintendents Association, shared the latest research findings on student engagement and self-empowerment in learning.
One of only a handful of students selected to participate in the Congressional briefing, Ulatowski shared her insights on how she has been impacted by technology in the classroom.
"I definitely did not think I would be attending a congressional briefing, it was a bit of a surprise," said Ulatowski.
It all started last year during her junior year of high school. Ulatowski and a few friends had an idea to start a school club called, Girl Up. It's a national organization that promotes gender equality. Ulatowski was the first to start a chapter at Arrowhead.
"Our mission is to really promote gender equality across the US but mainly our club focuses on our community," she said.
Promoting gender equality is an issue that she's experienced firsthand. Ava is an engineering student and is actively involved with Arrowhead's STEM program.
"She's taken pretty much every engineering course we are offering here at Arrowhead," said Jeremy Schlitt, a previous engineer-teacher of Ulatowski's.
But unfortunately, she has seen a gender gap firsthand throughout her experience as a student.
"The last two years I've been the only female in our engineering courses," said Ulatowski.
Back in middle school, a teacher pushed her to look into a potential career in engineering or science.
"She was like you should go into engineering, you have to have such a creative mind, you're good at math and that was something that really stuck with me," Ulatowski said.
If it was not for that one teacher, she believes she would not have a clear vision for her future.
Ulatowski was able to share her story on the congressional briefing and urge other teachers to speak to their students about a future in engineering.
"If they can kind of sense that they have an end goal for themselves they're gonna be more motivated," she said.