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Special Senior Spotlight: Shannon McKeever

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at STCU chapter.

For this year’s wrap of of Special Senior Spotlight, we are spotlighing our 2016-2017 Senate President, Shannon McKeever. Shannon McKeever is graduating with an International Relations major. At the Honors and Awards Ceremony, Shannon took with her the Dean of Student’s Award! Shannon you have been a great outspoken student-body president and you will be greatly missed, but before she walks out of the gates of St. Kate’s I wanted to hear more about her time at St. Kate’s and what she hopes to see in the future for St. Kate’s students and faculty/staff.  

Q: You’ve made it to the last few days of your senior year. How does it feel?

Shannon: It feels weird but really exciting at the same time. I don’t feel like 4 years have gone by, and this past year especially has flown by. I’m really looking forward to what’s next for me after graduation, and I’m really happy I’ll be done with homework soon!

Q: Couldn’t agree with you more on the years flowing by! Tell me a little bit about your involvement on campus since you’ve been at St. Kate’s.

Shannon: My first year, I co-founded the CSJ-Student Alliance, a club dedicated to creating more connections between students and CSJs, with 3 other first year students. My sophomore year, I joined Senate as the Administrative Affairs Co-Chair and I was the Treasurer for French Club. During my spring semester sophomore year, I studied abroad in France. For my junior year, I was the Senate Official. And during my senior year, I was the Senate President and the Public Relations Co-Chair for the Political Science Club.

Q:  Which of these involvements would you say was the most challenging and rewarding? What would be a tip you’d give someone who would be stepping into this role?

Shannon: By far, Senate President was the most challenging and the most rewarding experience. I never thought that I would take on a role like that, but I am so thankful I did. Being Senate President is one of the most demanding student roles, if not the most demanding, on campus, but it is also such an incredible experience. Senate is an organization that exists solely to represent and serve students. I would really encourage anyone who wants to make positive change on campus and grow their leadership skills to join Senate. I didn’t think I was cut out for Senate, so it took one of my friends encouraging me to apply to even consider it. The best piece of advice I can give is to never sell yourself short. There is a place, an organization, a department, a sports team, etc. on campus that is a perfect fit for you and, once you find it, you will never look back. But, you won’t find it unless you put yourself out there and try new things that may be a bit nerve-wracking at first but it will get easier with practice.

Q: That is excellent advice! Now, what’s your favorite place on campus?

Shannon: The MIPS office. I always find friends in there, studying or just hanging out. The staff is also incredibly welcoming and wonderful to get to know! I would really encourage everyone, especially students of color, to stop into the MIPS office sometime. It’s such an inclusive, open, and warm environment with countless amounts of positive, uplifting people in the space.

Q: If there was a faculty or staff that you wanted to give a shoutout to, who would that be and what would you say?

Shannon: Deb Miner, Director of SCA and one of the advisors to Senate. I don’t have the words to describe what Deb has done for me. She has been the absolute best advisor I could ask for. She never tells us what to do or what decisions to make (even though it would make Senate’s lives a lot easier if she did!), but she gives us the tools, and critical thinking and analysis skills in order to help us as we work through issues. Personally, Deb has shown me what it means to be a St. Kate’s leader. I am so grateful to her, because I know I would not be where I am today without her guidance and wisdom.

Q: What would you recommend to fellow Katie’s about studying for finals?

Shannon: Don’t procrastinate!! It’s advice I need to take myself, actually, so I know it’s important. It’s super common at this point in the semester to be completely burnt out, but don’t let that take away from all the hard work you’ve done over the entire semester. We’re so close to being done! Find these last bursts of energy to get through and celebrate once you’re done. Having said that, it is also so important to always put your mental and physical health above your GPA.

Q: If there was something you’d like to change about St. Kate’s what would it be and why?

Shannon: I would love to see more interaction between the university leadership and students. It’s something I had in mind to work on this year, but with all the changes in our campus and the world, I wasn’t able to devote much time to it. Most students haven’t had a conversation with any of our Executive Vice Presidents or Deans or even President Roloff. This has led to a disconnect that is sometimes felt by students with the university leadership. If there were opportunities to talk face-to-face with leadership, it could start to bridge this gap. There’s also the added benefit of students then having direct access to people who can answer their questions and address concerns they have.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Shannon: Thank you to the entire St. Kate’s community for making my 4 years here extraordinary. And, thank you especially to all the students for the privilege of serving as the Senate President this past year. It has been an absolute honor!

Congratulations Shannon! Your leadership demonstrates a strong character and I’m sure this will make you go far in your future! 

Andrea Duarte-Alonso is a grad from Saint Catherine University where she received her bachelor's of Art in Political Science, Women's Studies, and English. She founded HC STCU in order to include voices that are hardly ever represented in media. Andrea is a storyteller, writer, and a political enthusiast. Her areas of interest lie in writing (check her website storiesfromunheardvoices.com that was created for her community), traveling, and fighting for social justice issues.