Shana K. Benford

Chief Program and Impact Officer

Shana is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Illinois with 16 years of STEM and education experience. Her studies focus on Education Policy and Organizational Leadership and include advanced certificates in Diversity & Equity and Technology. As a former public high school teacher and leader, she led, supported, and implemented initiatives that improved outcomes for marginalized students. She later extended her service and leadership to teacher education at the university level. Shana served as a STEM Teacher Mentor, University Supervisor, Professor, and a National Science Foundation Noyce Scholars Faculty member. Among other accomplishments, she developed college courses for graduates and undergraduates, established department guidelines, and initiated strategic district partnerships. Shana earned a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University and a M.S. in Education and Social Policy and Secondary Science Education from Northwestern University. She joined Project Scientist because she wants increased representation in STEM for all women and girls, especially Black, Indigenous, and other Women of Color. Shana most values spending time traveling and volunteering with her children and husband. 

Favorite Woman in STEM: Jewel Plummer Cobb— for her university leadership and contributions to cancer research as a biologist.