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Adam & Sara Sutmiller (RRHS '12 & '14) - STEM

Sara & Adam dressing in band uniforms
Sara & Adam ready for a band performance.

Adam and Sara Sutmiller (River Ridge ’12 and ’14) enjoyed maxing out their schedules with Advanced Placement courses, played in the band all four years, and graduated as valedictorians of their respective classes.

“Yeah, there was a little rivalry there,” Sara laughs, as she tallies up how many AP classes they each took. 

Adam leaned hard into his mathematics studies. He took AP Statistics and Calculus in the same year, bringing his number of AP classes slightly higher than his sister’s for a total of nine. “My math classes had a huge impact on my career path,” Adam says. He attributes much of his passion for numbers to Jami Gore, who taught his Algebra II, Calculus AB and Calculus BC courses. 

“We live in a world of ever-increasing access to technology, which has its roots in science, engineering and math,” Adam says when asked about the importance of studying STEM. “To act in a knowledgeable way with these advancements, some background in STEM is desired, if not required, by many of our fastest growing industries.” 

Adam’s original career goal was to become a math teacher, but some real talk from a college professor at Western Washington University made him reconsider. He followed in the footsteps of his parents, who both worked for government agencies, and landed a job as a statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau instead. 

“I use a lot of skills from my stats class with Mrs. Pittelkau,” Adam explains. “I do distributional work as well as sampling from the economic side of the census bureau.” His office interviews businesses on the types of medical insurance they offer and stays up to date on various governmental policies. He also does “background work,” processing forms and collecting and correcting data.

Like her brother, Sara graduated from WWU, then turned an internship at Boeing into a career. She earned her degree in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. “It’s a business degree, but it’s a bachelor of science rather than a bachelor of arts,” Sara explains. “I like math. I don’t think I like it as much as Adam does, but I still wanted to keep it in my day-to-day work even though I wanted to focus on business.” 

That focus on business came from Career & Technical Education (CTE) opportunities at River Ridge. She loved a marketing class as well as a business language course she took with Bruce Brewer, and she went to state on the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) team all four years. She also participated in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) her senior year, securing a place in the state competition there, too. 

Adam & Sara in elementary school
Adam & Sara in elementary school.

At Boeing, Sara started in the procurement office. She was interested in a more technically-focused job from the start, and now she’s involved in capacity planning. She works with the shop floor to evaluate the workload on the machines and the staff members, then communicates with upper management about what can be done to make the work more efficient. 

Sara & Adam present day
Sara & Adam, present-day.

“It’s a really cool middle position that lets me work with the machinists and communicate with leadership at the same time,” Sara explains. “It’s definitely related to all the business activities I did at River Ridge, especially from a communications perspective. My experiences in DECA and FLBA taught me how to communicate better and how to speak confidently in public.” 

Both Adam and Sara have always been and still are avid gamers. Card games and board games are a favorite family pastime, and Adam likes to get some video games in there, too. He’s also looking forward to getting back on the Census softball and volleyball teams when public gatherings are permitted again. He’s lived in Washington D.C. since he started his job at the Bureau in 2017. 

Sara spends the majority of her free time on the master’s in engineering and technology program she’s enrolled in through the Washington State University. She recently bought a condo in Fife and hopes that Wild Waves will be open again soon.