Shavonti Archer is a skilled engineer by trade, advocating for diversity within the engineering community. She founded Systematic Motivation, LLC in 2018, a company whose primary focus is creating more opportunities for minority students to explore their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs and encourages their desire to pursue a career in STEM. Born and raised in Locust Grove, Georgia where she attended Luella High School, Archer quickly discovered her love for engineering as a 10th grade student. She was instantly captivated by videos of solar and wind farms.
In 2013, Shavonti Archer graduated from Georgia Southern University to attain her Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During her tenure at GSU, she became a member of The Society of Women Engineers and would later become president of the organization. She was instrumental in launching Society of African American Sisterhood (SAAS) on GSU’s campus. She served as an orientation leader, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and managed to complete an internship with Rayonier Performance Fibers and one of the largest engineering companies to date, General Electric.
In conjunction with her current role as a transmission and distribution engineer for a local utility company, Shavonti’s involvement with engineering organizations such as Society of Women Engineers, has allowed her to present and share her knowledge at over 100 speaking engagements, connecting with both adults and children. Her most recent speaking event was for the young ladies of the EmpowHER of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach Florida, where she spoke about her journey becoming an engineer and what motivated her to stay committed to it. Shavonti is a thought leader with a passion for giving back. Systematic Motivation, LLC further supports the idea that engineers are not limited to a certain look or color.
Though the industry is dominated by those who are not minorities, there is still room for pioneers from other communities. Systematic Motivation, aspires to level the playing field and broaden the horizons for all students.
Name: Shavonti Archer
Alma Mater: Georgia Southern University
STEM Career Path: Mechanical Engineering
KH: Who/What inspired you to become interested in engineering?
SA: When I was in the 9th grade, all I wanted to do was take Calculus my senior year of high school. So I met with my Honors Math teacher and I told her about my aspirations. She said "Okay well, I'm going to sign you up for Honors Geometry and Algebra your sophomore year, then Trigonometry your junior year, so that finally you can take Calculus your senior year". I was like wowzers!!!!!! Okay, lets do it. Then I asked myself, what will I be able to do with all this math? So I was walking into my Algebra class one day and my teacher was playing a video about solar farms and wind farms and the video talked about engineering and it looked so cool!!! I thought to myself, now this I can do! So from then on, I decided to become an engineer! My high school had one elective in engineering so I decided to take it my senior year and I loved it! I applied to Georgia Southern and got accepted and here I am!
KH: If you could sit down and have a conversation with one woman in STEM who would it be and why?
SA: Katherine G. Johnson, NASA's mathematician is one woman in STEM that I would love to have a conversation with right now. She recently turned 100 years old!!! The amount of knowledge, experience, and stories that she could share with me, would be enough for a lifetime! I want to know how her journey was everyday, how did she get through it, did she ever feel like giving up, were there ever doubts in her mind, and how did she throw all of that out of the window, and just be a ROCK STAR anyway! Something kept her fire going, and I would love to know what it was.
KH: What struggles have you faced as an African American woman in STEM thus far?
SA: Truly, I feel that my own personal struggles have been my own insecurities. Sometimes by setting these grand expectations and expecting everyone in the room to understand where I come from or my background and sadly realizing that they don't. Most of the people in our "engineering corporate world" has no clue about our background, and what it is that makes us unique. Being a black female in the world is one thing, but being a black female in the engineering world is another. You are either praised, or over looked. That's been my experience thus far.
KH: How did you overcome those struggles?
SA: It is a constant struggle, but when your company truly values diversity and inclusion it makes the work place a whole lot better!
KH: Working with kids can be a very rewarding . Tell us about the unique ways you are able to advocate STEM to your target audience.
SA: One month ago, I launched my business called Systematic Motivation LLC. Systematic Motivation’s primary focus is engaging students of every race and gender in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, through unique efforts, community outreach, and at-home activities. Systematic Motivation is committed to diversifying the world of technology. Our target demographic is 5th-12th graders. We believe grade-level students, when presented with STEM opportunities, will be equipped with the tools they need to embark on a career in this industry. My company is on all social media platforms, including Pinterest, and YouTube so that parents, teachers, and kids, can learn about STEM, and get ideas to incorporate STEM at home!
Check out one of Shavonti's latest video here:
KH: Best Advice You Have Ever Received?
SA: The best advice that I ever received was from my good friend, an one of my accountability partners, Shandice Stallworth. She emailed me a quote that said, "You can only withdraw, what you are willing to deposit". Meaning that you can only get out of a situation or relationship, or business what you sacrifice to put in it! That literally changed my outlook on everything that I do.
KH: Fun Fact about you.
SA: Fun Fact about me is that I have lived in the Bahamas and I collect dirt/sand! Well that's two lol
KH: For young women of color that are interested in pursuing engineering how do they get there ?
SA: Staying focused young women on the goal at hand is going to get you there. Trust me, this journey will not be easy, and remember that anything worth having is worth fighting for. This is a very rewarding career path, and I promise you will enjoy it. So many doors will be opened for you and there is a certain level of respect you will get once you tell someone that you are an engineer. The feeling is priceless.