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Alabama School of Fine Arts: Eureka! Speakers

This article comes from the ASFA Website:

Imagine working for a company where you spend your day planning how society may live in the future. Both ASFA Alums Blair Farley (2007 alumna) and Sh’Nese Townsend (2006 alumna) are very familiar with that type of work and shared their experiences recently with a group of aspiring female scientists ages 11-14.

Blair and Sh’Nese were guest speakers at the Girls Inc., Birmingham Eureka Summer Program. Twenty-four girls enrolled in grades 7-9 spent four weeks this summer at the University of Alabama in Birmingham learning about science, particularly various forms of engineering. Over the course of a month, the girls studied space exploration, and one of the final treats was meeting two women who now spend their days doing the type of work that some of these young girls dream of doing some day.

After graduating from UAB, Blair went to work as a mechanical engineer for Alabama Power and spends many of her days helping improve the design of electric vehicles. She described traveling to meetings with other engineers at car manufactures, such as Tesla and Mercedes. Her work has taken her around the country and the world. She's visited an auto manufacturing plant in Germany among other places. The students marveled as she explained how electric automobiles work and some of the plans for enhancing their design for future use.

Sh’Nese works as a cancer researcher for the Department of Medicine in the Division of Preventive Medicine at UAB. Her most recent project explorers the disparity in colon cancer rates among African-American women. She also talked about her previous research with cancer survivors in Alabama’s Black Belt and a campaign she worked on with teenagers to reduce their intake of sugary beverages.

The students asked her many questions about how her time as a student in ASFA’s Math & Science Department prepared her for the work she does today. Sh’Nese commented that the courses that she took at ASFA better prepared her for the road ahead during her undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. “I don’t know if I would have gotten the same level of intense classes in science and mathematics as a foundation if I had gone to any other high school,” she said.

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