Panel Nav. Bar


The panel discussion is a 1/2 hour session that takes place at the end of the sit-down lunch at Pathways. There are typically four or five panelists (2 from academe, 3 from industry) and a moderator.

During lunch, the students discuss career-related topics with the scientists/engineers at their tables. Then they write questions for the panel on slips of paper available at their tables. The moderator poses these questions to the panel.


You can start the session by either saying a few words about each panelist or asking to say a couple sentences about herself. Subjects the students like to hear about from each panelist:

  • how a panelist chose her career/ what she studied
  • what a panelist does on a typical day at work

It is important to keep this portion of the panel session brief so you can pose many student questions to the panel.

About 10 min. before the panel is due to start, the questions the students have written down will be brought to you. Sort through them and decide how to pose them to the panel. Often they divide naturally among a few topics and you read several similar ones aloud before asking panelists to respond. Each panelist need not answer every question -- scanning the panelists' bios in advance will help you direct the questions. There will probably be time for about 5-6 topics to be addressed.


A few days before the event, think about how you might briefly answer the following questions:

  • how did you chose your career ?
  • what did you study to prepare ?
  • what do you actually do at work on a typical day ?
  • how much does someone in your field earn ?
  • have you ever felt discriminated against (e.g. due to gender, race, ethnicity...) and how did you respond ?
  • do you have a life outside your work ? a family ? hobbies ?
  • what advice would you give someone wanting to enter your field ?

At the event, speak clearly and into the microphone. Feel free to show emotion and enthusiasm -- it helps the student connect with you when you're way up on that platform.


1. Find a panel moderator. It can be one of you, or another woman scientist/engineer. Please have the moderator fill out the standard Pathways participant registration form (available on the web site or from Cynthia). Share the "tips for moderators'' with her (those above or your own version).

2. Invite four - five panelists. It's preferable to have two from academe and three from industry, and to have some who are in a long-term relationship or have kids (the family/career balancing act is often asked about). Also, try to find women who represent different fields and/or disciplines. Aim for people who haven't been on the Pathways panel before (in the `highlights' section of the web site), since students sometimes come to Pathways more than once. But people who have been speakers or led tours or given demos before are fair game!

3. As each panelist signs up, get her to fill out the standard Pathways participant registration sheet and to provide a brief bio that you can send to the moderator. Share the "tips for panelists'' with her (those above or your own version).

4. A week before the event, check that the panelists and moderator:

  • have received directions to the GSU
  • have parking passes (if needed),
  • know what time they are expected to arrive,
  • understand the format of the panel session.

5. On the day of the event, be on hand to greet the panelists when they arrive and help them get settled for lunch. Seats will be reserved for them at tables near the platform so they will be served early relatively early.

6. Towards the end of lunch, collect the students' question slips and help the moderator sort them.

7. After the event, work with Cynthia and Liz to draft thank you letters to panelists

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