Alisha Henderson

Class of 2008

Alisha D. Henderson
Alisha graduated from STA in 2008. She is a research chemist/associate service fellow at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What words of wisdom do you have for young women interested in a STEAM-related career?
STEAM isn’t just for the Albert Einsteins and Bill Nyes of the world, STEAM is for YOU!  Be the change you want to see in the world. You may not see a woman or person of color in a certain sector of STEAM, but that doesn’t mean you don’t belong. All I can say is, don’t stop. You will have naysayers and those who may doubt your abilities and intelligence, but you are STA Strong! STA has given you the foundation to achieve at the highest levels possible. Never forget where you come from. You are rooted in the greatness that is St. Teresa’s Academy and all of the opportunities in STEAM that it affords.

Who inspired you to follow a path in a STEAM career?
Growing up, my mom was a math and science teacher, so her love for STEAM was passed down to me. I was the kid always enrolled in summer programs, and one summer I attended a Rockhurst University science camp. After doing hands-on experiments, riding hoverboards and shooting rockets, I was sold!  These experiences, combined with my natural love for math and science, led me to a career in STEAM.

What suggestions do you have regarding challenges you face in a STEAM career?
Get comfortable with failure! In many STEAM fields you are testing new hypotheses, developing new methods, and creating new products. You won’t get everything right all of the time, but that is what makes STEAM so exciting! My favorite part about my field is that the answers are never given to me. I have to think critically and problem-solve every single day, and I am always being challenged to come up with new ideas and solutions to existing problems. Some days I do well, and some days I fail. However, my failures have catapulted me to greater heights time and time again. So don’t fear failure. Simply understand that failure is necessary for you to learn and grow and move down your chosen path.