Series encourages women to pursue math and science careers

By Staff Writer Taylor Simpson

The fall 2017 Sunseri Series the UNA College of Arts and Sciences hosted a panel of women UNA graduates working in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering Oct. 26.

“The turnout was great,” said Carmen Burkhalter, dean of UNA COAS and event organizer. “There were representatives from community colleges, high schools (and) all across UNA.”

Approximately 100 people attended the event, including local high school students, local community college students and UNA students and faculty.

University President Kenneth Kitts and Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields were both in attendance.

Panelists included Lacey Reinoehl, the vice president of customer experience at Lojix Software LLC, Jessica Williams, an environmental health and safety engineer for 3M in Decatur, Hannah Hopkins, a software developer for NASA, Anne Whitaker, current president and CEO of KNOW Bio and Respiratory LLC and Deborah Hellums, who served as the director of fertilizer research at the International Fertilizer Development Center, according to biographies published on UNA’s COAS Orgsync.

“The panelists did a great job of communicating what a spectacular education they got at the University of North Alabama in order to contribute to their success,” Burkhalter said.

Leshan Kimbrough, assistant professor and program director of industrial hygiene, moderated the panel and asked questions the UNA COAS ambassadors submitted.

Topics included workplace discrimination, travel opportunities, university experiences and general career advice.

Reinoehl said it is important for women to not lose their perspective in male-dominated fields.

A donation from UNA alumnus David Sunseri in honor of his late sister Jennifer Leigh Sunseri made the series possible.

“We appreciate the Sunseri family for allowing us to continue to sponsor the speaker series,” Burkhalter said.

Burkhalter said the Sunseri series is an opportunity to host groups of people or individuals who bring together arts and sciences.