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Azell Francis, BS MechE ’13

Azell Francis, BS MechE 2013 Magna cum Laude, with minors in Management and International Studies, Honors Program
MS Applied Engineering 2015, and graduate certificate in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance.

If you ever have the good fortune of meeting Azell Francis, you will not soon forget this energetic and engaging double Eagle from Trinidad and Tobago. You will rarely see her without her signature smile, which is amazing because as you can see from her credentials, she keeps herself astoundingly busy. In her undergraduate career at Georgia Southern, Francis not only studied one of the most demanding majors possible – Mechanical Engineering – in the Honors Program, but also tacked on two official minor programs of study.

Francis also participated in the College’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter, serving as president for a year, and reintroduced the DREAMS Fair to increase their outreach to middle school girls to encourage them to pursue a career in engineering. The student SWE chapter invited 30 middle school girls to spend a day with them and their faculty advisor, Dr. Rocio Alba-Flores, on the GS Statesboro campus, participating in hands-on experiments to learn how fun engineering can be.

Francis, was elected as Georgia Southern Student Government Association president – the first international student ever and the first female since 2009. She created the “Eagles for Eagles” program, a student-led initiative to raise funds for students suffering extreme financial hardships. The Student Advisory Council (SAC), composed of SGA presidents from the 31 University System of Georgia (USG) colleges and universities across the state, awarded Francis the 2015 Regent Willis J. Potts Student Advisory Council Leadership Award.

Francis is currently a full-time Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, working as a Graduate Research Assistant at USG, and plans to become an energy consultant. She credits many of her professors, with whom she keeps in touch, for offering her opportunities, providing guidance and support, and great instruction. I always get compliments about the diversity and wealth of experience I bring to the table. I credit Georgia Southern with offering me all the opportunities of a research university, with rigorous coursework, hands-on learning, and a nurturing environment of care. At Georgia Southern, I was not a number. My professors and the university staff knew my name and cared and supported my development.

Francis also serves now as the President of the Young Alumni Board at Georgia Southern. Our mission is to create a legacy of engagement and giving within Georgia Southern’s young alumni population. In addition to my service on the Board, I give directly to the College of Engineering & Computing because I have been a fortunate recipient of a stellar education and scholarships from the College, and I am now able to pay it forward. ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.’ Wise words by Sir Isaac Newton that I have taken to heart. To put it more colloquially, according to another mentor Russell Keen – ‘If you see a turtle on a pole, you know it didn’t get there alone.’ The moral of it all is that I would not be where I am today without the people at Georgia Southern. It is my honor to give back in any capacity, be it my time, my talent, or my treasure.

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