a photo of Teairra Evans and a photo of Abby Foes

Women’s History Month: Spotlight on Female Student Researchers

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of women from UA’s past and present. Meet two female students and researchers making waves in their fields.

Teairra Evans with a backpack on the Quad

Teairra Evans

From the playground to the laboratory, Teairra Evans has spent her whole life pushing boundaries.

She knew from a young age that she wanted to work in medicine. Her path veered slightly after coming to UA as an undergraduate. She took a career assessment at the Career Center, which names psychology as a possible career match. The rest is history… or rather, the future.

After earning her bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in gender and race studies at UA, she returned to UA as a doctoral student. Evans, a young, Black female, is making a remarkable name for herself in cognitive psychology, a field that, along with medicine, has been historically underrepresented by women.

“Showing up there in spaces where there aren’t a lot of people that look like me and providing representation — my womanhood has caused me to show up and be present in those spaces,” she said.   

During her time at UA, Evans has served as vice president of a feminist caucus as well as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research Assistant. She’s also been awarded the J. Frank Yates Student Conference Award and the Community Engagement Fellowship for her research, which focuses on the ways in which comprehension influences an individual’s decisions and the quality thereof.

Soon, Evans will be employed as a tenure-track professor at Louisiana State University, ending her career as a flourishing UA student. She will continue to make waves in the field, as she will be able to further her interests in the disciplines of psychology and African American Studies.

Evans attributes her success to her upbringing, her womanhood and the growth she experienced at UA. At the Capstone, she refined her ideas, found like-minded peers and fostered herself and her research with the help of professors and faculty. Evans’ time at UA was short, in the grand scheme of things, but the space she has made for women like herself will last forever.

Abby Foes

Abby Foes will be completing her bachelor’s in chemistry and mathematics with a minor in global health in May 2023. Her diploma will look indistinguishable from her peers — aside from the name — but the story behind its designation is wholly unique.

Foes has held a 4.0 grade point average, taken the maximum number of credits, and completed remarkable research in the Randall Research Scholars Program, which is the program that brought her to The University of Alabama.

She attributes much of her success to the support from her peers, faculty and the leadership in RRSP, who have all pushed her to accomplish her goals and continue to grow academically and personally.

Although she has been awarded the H. Pettus Randall Jr. Endowed Scholarship, a Fullbright-funded MITACS Canada Internship, and the Catherine J. Randall Premier Award during her time at UA, her journey has been anything but a breeze.

Foes shared that she has felt self-conscious and has had to overcome imposter syndrome, which is especially common for women in STEM, she added. Nevertheless, she has been able to fight through and is learning to recognize her accomplishments and unique talents.

As a woman in STEM, Foes has spent her education surrounded by men as both peers and supervisors. She has worked hard to make a name for herself and establish lasting relationships with other women in STEM, so they can support each other and break down barriers together.

“I want to make contributions to global health care that will out-live me. I hope to contribute to discoveries about medicine, health care infrastructure, and population health that will improve global health.” 

With her ultimate career goal to be a consulting biostatistician, a role that collects and analyzes statistical research to draw conclusions and make predictions, Foes is pursuing a doctorate in biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill starting fall 2023. Beyond that, Foes hopes to be a role model for young women in science.

“I hope to support the next generation of female scientists so they never doubt their success and are as confident in themselves as I will be in them.”


Breanna Erickson, UA Strategic Communications, bnerickson@crimson.ua.edu