Sunseri Speaker Series to Feature Artist and Designer Leah Gilliam to UNA

Dec. 17, 2020

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at, 256-606-2033 or 256-765-4392 

FLORENCE, AL – The University of North Alabama College of Arts and Sciences will feature artist and designer Leah Franklin Gilliam as part of its annual Sunseri Speaker Series. The Zoom event will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28. Gilliam uses the they/them/their pronouns. 

“Leah Gilliam represents perfectly the intersection of STEM fields and arts careers and skills,” said Dr. Sara Lynn Baird, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “With an art background, early in their career as an academic, they created an electronic media curriculum and lectured on art and technology. They are involved in advancing web literacy, an advocate for diversity and inclusion in technology fields, and draw on best practices from art, education, and design that inform a wide variety of industries and produce innovation.” 

Gilliam, who also uses the moniker LFranklin, has always been fascinated with emergent systems and how things work. An internationally recognized artist and designer, LFranklin has channeled their curiosity into a wide-ranging career at the intersection of creativity, technology, and social inclusion. 

LFranklin’s penchant for analysis has fueled professional experiences that include stewarding a learning network at Mozilla, developing curricula and digital products at Girls Who Code, opening a public school inspired by game design at Institute of Play, and serving as a tenured professor in electronic art at Bard College. Formerly Vice President for Education, Strategy & Innovation at Girls Who Code, LFranklin is the Senior Strategy and Design Officer at Lambert Foundation and board president of Out in Tech, a 30,000-member volunteer community uniting LGBTQIA techies. 

Gilliam’s presentation will be the first of several COAS-sponsored diversity-related works in the spring semester, and Gilliam’s topic and expertise tie in with two recent grants from National Science Foundation at UNA that focus on the recruitment and retention of diverse students from rural backgrounds. 

“We are tremendously excited to be able to host their presentation, which connects STEM fields, the arts, diversity, inclusion, gender equality, innovation, and creativity,” Baird said. 

Registration for the event is required and is open. It is available here: 

About The University of North Alabama 

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: and