Humans of TAMS: Shelby Stanfield

Humans of TAMS is a photojournalism that seeks to capture the diversity of the TAMS population through a series of interviews and portraits of students. Thank you to this week’s interviewee, Shelby Stanfield.

Shelby Stanfield loves doing math and creating beautiful things. Luckily for her, she found an activity that allows her to appreciate both.

“Rhinestoning just adds a little bit of sparkle to your life. It makes things pretty,” she says. “You wouldn’t expect it, but it is a very mathematical process. I like the intense precision of it. Everything has to be spaced out evenly and planned before you can add any rhinestones.”

Indeed, Shelby has an intrinsic love for mathematics. “When I was younger and people would ask why I liked math, I would say, ‘because there is always one answer,’” she says. “Now I know that’s not true; there isn’t always one answer and sometimes there isn’t an answer at all. I think I just really like the logic of it. It just makes sense to me.”

This love for math drove her to TAMS. However, coming here was socially intimidating at first.

“Naturally, I am a very introverted person. I only knew one other person here when I came. Really learning how to force myself to get to out of my comfort zone was something that I pushed myself to do. The first step for me was learning how to get out of my room. It was just so important for me to how to break barriers and meet new people.”

Shelby says coming to TAMS profoundly influenced who she is today. She also says her family dinners similarly influenced her.

“Every night when I was at my dad’s house, we would sit around the dinner table for two or three hours. We would talk about our days, what was going on in our lives, what was going on in the world. That happened every night. It me gave me the ability to comfortably talk about myself. Those dinners shaped me into who I am.”

Next year, Shelby will attend Southern Methodist University under the school’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship. She plans to major in mechanical engineering and, of course, minor in mathematics.

“Hopefully I will go onto grad school to get my PhD in mechanical engineering. I want to go into the field for a while and then get back into academia and become a professor,” she says.

When asked what she would tell the world if it would listen, Shelby asserts, “Don’t put yourself into a box. Always try new things. You never know what you will like or be interested in or be passionate about. Just find out who you are through trial and error. The only person who will limit your options is yourself.”

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Humans of TAMS piece! Be sure to look out for the next weekly HOT article on Thursday, April 17

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