At Illinois State, we care about your growth as both a student and individual. Your time here will certainly be filled with memories you can cherish for a lifetime. Ashley Shannon, an Illinois State alumnus, made the most of her time as an undergraduate student. Stay tuned to learn more about Ashley’s journey here at ISU!
Why did you chose to attend Illinois State University?
I always say I didn’t choose Illinois State, Illinois State chose me. I was accepted into other universities when I was a senior in high school, but none of them seemed to stand out to me. On my high school’s decision day all athletes were expected to wear a shirt representing the university they would be attending. Right before the recognition event I was officially accepted to ISU. I had never visited the institution, but for some reason my gut told me if I decided to commit, I would be okay. My first time on campus was Preview, and I have loved the school ever since.
What did you major in?
What were you able to accomplish here at Illinois State University?
While on campus I was able to join organizations like Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Impact and Lambda Pi Eta Honor Fraternity. I was also able to make history at ISU and become part of the first black couple to be crowned Homecoming King and Queen in 2016. In 2017, I was officially sworn in as Student Body Vice President, through the Student Government Association. Through SGA I founded a campaign called #ItsJustAPeriod, which established the distribution of free menstrual items to ISU students on campus, in the dorms and selected academic buildings.
Within the School of Communication, I was also able to serve as a TV 10 News weather personal, reporter, producer, and anchor during my time at ISU. TV 10 News allowed me to be the co-founder of ISU’s first all-black produced and casted talk show called “What’s Happenin?” Lastly, I was able to partake in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated’s annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant and be crowned Miss Black 2016.
What was your most valuable experience here and how has it shaped you as a person?
My most valuable experience was serving as the Student Body Vice President). Many people do not know it, but I was actually supposed to graduate from ISU a semester early. I was approached with the option of running for vice president, which would require me to remain at the university longer than I expected in order to serve my fellow students. Through this experience I learned the value of selflessness, and how decisions you make on behalf of others can positively impact you later on in life.
What are you planning to do with your career path, and how did Illinois State influence that decision?
I will be attending University of Illinois’s College of Law in the fall. With the experience I gain at that institution, I would like to make documentaries surrounding systematic oppression within prison systems and define key ways to restore humanity back to inmates during and after incarceration. I would later on down the road like to return to a school somewhat like Illinois State and serve in a role like Vice President or even President. ISU encouraged me to want to serve in these types of positions because I have met incredibly powerful, influential, and intelligent officials at our university. Each of them has unique stories, but they practice living a selfless life to benefit students, and they have taught me to do the exact same. I want to give back to students what someone has given to me, which was simply hope in my future.
If you could give advice to incoming freshmen what would you tell them?
If I could give a freshman any advice, it would be to never doubt the impact you can and will make. There will be obstacles you will have to face. You will have bad days and you will have good days, but never believe the negatives outweigh the positives. One of my favorite quotes guided me through college and it says, “Remember you have not come this far, just to come this far.” Never give up on who you want to be.