October 27, 2020 News & Features » Cover Story


Jenilee Stanley-Shanks, 39 

Director of Government and Community Outreach, College of Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

click to enlarge feat44_jenilleshanks.jpg

Scott Elmquist

For most fifth- or sixth-graders, the leap between elementary and middle school to high school and college is hard to imagine, not to mention a career in engineering or a related field. But Stanley-Shanks uses her well-honed skills and passion to acquaint students, parents and teachers in our region with high school curriculum tracks that can prepare youngsters for careers in engineering or technology.

“These are professions and fields in which we still don’t have enough people in Virginia for needed positions,” she says. In addition to work at Georgia Tech before coming to Virginia, Stanley-Shanks believes that her experiences gleaned from undergraduate studies in theater and a master’s degree in public policy enhance her personal communication with people and constituent groups.

“You have to be vulnerable,” she says of actors and directors. “You need to drop your walls and have a high tolerance for failure. That is also true for engineering students.” With the pandemic, Stanley-Shanks is connecting with area schools via Zoom. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” she says.  Adds a colleague: “She is an unrepenting engineering geek.”

Back to the 2020 Top 40 Under 40

Correction: The print version misspelled Jenilee's first name. Style regrets the error.



Latest in Cover Story


Comments are closed.

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • Palms on the Potomac

    Palms on the Potomac

    Our day trip series heads to charming Colonial Beach, a relaxed small town featuring the second-longest beach in Virginia.
    • Sep 7, 2021
  • Co-working Co-conspirators

    Co-working Co-conspirators

    Richmond’s first Black- and queer-owned co-working space is open for business.
    • Aug 31, 2021
  • Deciding Factors

    Deciding Factors

    A close governor’s race between two wealthy Virginia businessmen could set the tone for broader national elections, but this time it’s not business as usual.
    • Aug 24, 2021
  • How to Access Your Vax Record Online (from VDH)

    How to Access Your Vax Record Online (from VDH)

    Be careful and avoid scams online.
    • Aug 30, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation