Panel at Lakeridge Middle School

On Monday, March 3, Sumner-Bonney Lake School District hosted an IGNITE panel at Lakeridge Middle School, attended by 45 girls/non-binary students in the 8th grade. Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Moody started the panel off with an introduction to women in STEM, and then welcomed the panel of STEM professionals to the stage.

The panel included:  

  • Laneia Murray, Software Engineer at Outreach
  • Grace Roberts, Environmental Scientist/Diver at WSP
  • Rebecca Lotus, Software Engineering Manager at The Walt Disney Company  

The speakers shared an overview of their jobs, companies, and their personal backgrounds and educational pathways. It was great to hear how different their careers are and also each speaker’s unique journey to get into STEM.

Next, we broke into three smaller groups, where the girls got a chance to talk individually with a panelist. The conversation focused on soft skills, interview skills and preparation, career pathways, and technical skills students can start to learn now. The girls were very engaged and enjoyed the personal time with our guests!

At the end we came back together for a few additional questions, such as: 

  • How does social media impact your career? Does your company use it?
  • What does a typical day look like at your job?
  • What final advice do you have for girls thinking of a career in STEM?

All of the panelists were great speakers and relatable for the students, and they shared wonderful knowledge and advice! THANK YOU to Laneia Murray, Grace Roberts, and Rebecca Lotus for volunteering your time making this such a meaningful experience!

After attending this event:


of students are more interested in STEM


of students want to study harder to attend college and further their education

Take STEM Class


of students want to take a STEM-related class next semester

Here’s what the students thought of the event:

“The panelists’ stories were interesting. I liked the diversity and practical advice. This inspired me to take time to start a STEM-related project.” – 8th grade

“The person I had in my small group really impacted me. I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist and still do. I want to be the change/want to do something different. I plan on studying more STEM! This event inspired me to follow with my dream, and I will try to be the best person I can to do it! This was a wonderful experience. Thank you so much!!” – 8th grade

They were all super passionate about their careers. I’ve always thought of STEM as boring and they make it seem fun. It inspired me to figure out what I want to do.” – 8th grade

The speakers were very interesting and their stories show that you can do it if you try. This inspired me to keep doing what I do!” – 8th grade

“Knowing what inspires them. It made me want to do STEM more. I liked when they told me what jobs they do, so it opened everything I can do.” – 8th grade

Information about hiring skills helped me reevaluate my image online and skills. The one-on-one panel gave me more information about programming and microbiology.” – 8th grade

“I liked learning how to get started and knowing they once felt how I feel. It was very helpful for me!” – 8th grade

Hearing about how certain things changed their lives, like social media.” – 8th grade

“I liked how the panel talked about a variety of different career paths I could take.” – 8th grade

I was inspired by the great advice, and I thought it was great ideas for what jobs I might want.” – 8th grade

“I enjoyed the groups and that we got to ask questions personally.” – 8th grade

“The highlights about this event were probably talking to someone in small groups. I could get detailed answers.” – 8th grade

“I got inspired by learning how little women are in STEM.” – 8th grade

“I enjoyed the group time when we went into small groups. It helped me learn more about STEM.” – 8th grade

Learning about classes and the interview process, and knowing more about STEM.” – 8th grade

“Listening to the panel talk about each of their experiences.” – 8th grade

Literally everything!” – 8th grade

I learned about STEM classes I can take.” – 8th grade

“They gave me more jobs I could like. You guys are amazing!” – 8th grade

“I was inspired by the diverse people in this career path.” – 8th grade

“I really liked being able to ask individual questions.” – 8th grade

Hearing all the stories and what they did to get to where they are now.” – 8th grade