Find out why this mother-son duo love ASFA’s math and science program


McNair and Meredith Shah. (Bham Now)

The public, state-funded Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) is no stranger to top-notch curriculum, student achievement and an inclusive atmosphere. Part of what makes this atmosphere so special is the immersive programs they offer to all students.

At ASFA, students across Alabama can specialize in one of six areas: creative writing, dance, music, theatre arts, visual arts and math-science

We sat down with a current student and parent in the Math and Science Department to get insights into the STEM-specialty at a fine arts school. Keep reading to see what we learned.

McNair prepares for his junior year

In his element. (Bham Now)

Hyping up ASFA’s Math and Science Department comes easily for rising junior McNair Shah.

“The math and science department at ASFA is a unique school unlike anything else you will find in the state of Alabama.

We have amazing teachers who are experts in their fields and support students not only in the classroom but by taking time out of their lives to sponsor us in competitions and other extracurriculars.”

McNair Shah, student, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Showing gratitude for the past couple years and the people who challenge him—McNair shared how he conducted research through internships and independent projects.

“This summer I worked with a neuroscience professor at the University of Alabama where I employed Machine Learning to build a classifier to interpret brain activity. This was followed by an internship, where I utilized recurrent neural networks to detect fraud for a local company.”

McNair Shah, student, Alabama School of Fine Arts

McNair expressed how his time at ASFA encouraged him to partake in independent studies which enhanced his experiences at ASFA.

ASFA’s scientific research experience prepares students for competitive college programs

Hungsin Chin, the Math and Science Department chair, gave her thoughts on the research programs offered and how she believes it challenges students for post-high school opportunities.

“The Math & Science program at ASFA is the only advanced high school program that requires scientific research experience to graduate. The small class size affords our faculty the ability to provide this unique opportunity to all our students. This research experience places our Math & Science graduates in the position to be highly competitive in many sought-after university programs.”

Hungsin Chin, Math & Science Department Chair, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Why attend Alabama School of Fine Arts for math and science?

Join McNair + other passionate students when you apply to ASFA. (Bham Now)

What are the advantages of being a math-science student at ASFA? Meredith Shah has some thoughts.

“The Math and Science Department is the largest speciality department as ASFA, so don’t let the name “fine arts” fool you. The Math and Science Department is filled with exceptional teachers committed to helping students in this particular lane excel.”

Meredith Shah, parent, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Meredith loves to see her son McNair flourish with other students and teachers who share the same passions.

“McNair found his tribe and an ability to truly pursue his passion for math and science at ASFA. He loves the focus on research, the challenge of competitions, the rigor of the specialty programs and the community of friends and teachers.”

Meredith Shah, parent, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Learn more about the values Meredith is talking about.

ASFA is dedicated to seeing students thrive by providing university-level coursework

ASFA Sept 2022 522 Find out why this mother-son duo love ASFA's math and science program
Hands-on curriculum allows students to develop strong, creative minds. (ASFA)

Through coursework in mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, computer science and engineering, ASFA’s math and science program develops students’ analytical and creative problem solving skills.

Their website states loud and clear that nurturing student talent to create leaders and innovators is a cornerstone of the math and science program.

Want to see what this tuition-free school is all about? Head to their website for info on campus visits, boarding + more.

There’s more where that came from

ASFA math and science
Taking home the gold at the 2023 Alabama State Ciphering championship. (ASFA)

The Math and Science Department brings students to a variety of competitions and events across the state. Some of these include:

  • Alabama State Ciphering
  • Central Alabama Regional Science Olympiad
  • FIRST Robotics
  • Intel International Science & Engineering Fair
  • UAB Math Talent Search

Parents and students—if you’re looking for a challenging, yet supportive school environment with a diverse community, ASFA needs to be on your radar.

“If your child enjoys math and science and wants to be surrounded by others who share this passion, come to ASFA.

You will learn from the best teachers, learn how to undertake fascinating research, have access to incredible competitions and resources, be surrounded by friends who enjoy the same things you do and have fun!”

Meredith Shah, parent, Alabama School of Fine Arts

There’s always something happening over at ASFA—follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop. Ready to apply? You can do that, too.

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