Panel at Broadview Thomson K-8


November 14, 2019 | Panel at Broadview Thomson K-8 | by Michele Amato

On Nov. 14, 40 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from the IGNITE chapter at Broadview Thomson attended an IGNITE panel presentation. We were joined by five amazing panelists, who shared their journeys to their careers in technology and answered questions from the students.

The panelists were:

  • Shanell Powell, Program Manager at Microsoft
  • Lamiya Kazi, Associate TechX Professional at T-Mobile
  • Lori Salmonsen, Learning Experience Designer at Lighthouse eDiscovery
  • Mina Shin, Software Developer Intern at Indeed
  • Ariana Bray, Software Engineer Intern at Nordstrom

It was inspiring for the students to hear from women with vastly different backgrounds who have all faced significant challenges in their lives. The panelists talked about being bullied, dealing with depression, struggles in their home lives, and moving a lot and attending several different schools. They all agreed that surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people is key in getting through difficult times! Lori suggested joining a team for support, and Lamiya talked about the importance of finding a mentor. Shanell advised keeping a Vision Board with photos of things you want to do in life.

The panelists also discussed the challenges of being women - and women of color - in careers dominated by men. Lamiya talked about “imposter syndrome”, where you can do the job but feel like you don't belong because there aren't many like you. She stressed how important it is to make your voice heard as a woman. Mina shared that she is afraid to admit when she doesn’t know something, but that it ends up being helpful when she does. Ariana said that she was scared when she graduated college and had 6 interviews before finding her current job! Lori also didn’t start out in her current field and “evolved” into her job.

The students really appreciated hearing about these obstacles and that it’s okay to not have perfect grades or to not know what you want to do when you graduate. The panelists all gave meaningful advice:

Shanell: You can’t control everything that happens in life. Keep a positive outlook and don't be afraid to try something new; you never know what life has in store for you!

Lori: Don’t worry about doing everything perfectly and checking off boxes.

Lamiya: Find a mentor who helps guide you.

Mina: Ask a lot of questions!

Ariana: It’s hard to be different from your peers, but it also means you can be an inspiration. Never give up!

This was an amazing event for Broadview Thomson! Thank you to Shanell, Lori, Lamiya, Mina, and Ariana for your honesty and inspiration! 


After attending this event:


of girls/non-binary students are more interested in STEM


of girls/non-binary students want to study harder to attend college and further their education

Here's what the students enjoyed most:


"What I enjoyed about today was how the adults inspired me to do the things I am scared to do."

- 6th grade


"I liked hearing stories I could relate to from the people on the panel."

- 7th grade


"I got inspired by how they all accomplished their dreams."

- 7th grade


"I enjoyed hearing them talk about their experiences in technology. I liked how they explained everything."

- 7th grade


"I got to know more about how they got to their jobs, and it inspired me to think about college and study hard."

- 7th grade


"When they talked about their obstacles, it was just inspiring."

- 8th grade


"Their work. When they said don't be afraid to take opportunities.

- 8th grade


"I liked how they shared their experiences in college and work. And their struggles throughout. I liked it all!"

- 8th grade


"What I enjoyed was when they talked about their jobs. Something that inspired me was when they talked about women and how most of their jobs were mostly men-filled."

- 8th grade


"I enjoyed when the women were talking. It inspired me when they told their stories."

- 7th grade


"What they said about college. It was great!"

- 8th grade


"I liked it when all the volunteers were sharing their stories with us."

- 7th grade


"The ladies talked about very interesting events. We should do more of these!"

- 7th grade


"The talks about technology. It's fun, and people's opinion on it."

- 6th grade


"They were inspiring.

- 7th grade