Faculty spotlight: Shannon Nolan conquers trials with triumph

Briana Osuna, Student Life Reporter

Growing up, Nolan was a determined young woman who longed to attend college, however she was worried as to how she would be able to fulfill her dream due to financial hardships.

Born and raised in San Diego, Nolan and her siblings were raised by their single mother, which resulted in a scarce amount of income. Fortunately, her mother was very supportive of her goals and assured Nolan she would go to college.

“My mother made it very clear that we were going to go to college, we just needed to figure out the path,” said Nolan.

Nolan started getting involved with school programs, such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).

“It was really AVID my senior year that helped me understand how to apply for college and scholarships,” said Nolan.

By her senior year of high school, Nolan applied for several scholarships and was accepted to both San Diego State University and CSUSM. After deep consideration, Nolan decided to attend CSUSM in order to be closer to her home and family.

The summer before her first semester at CSUSM, Nolan attended the summer bridge Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). EOP is a program for first generation, low income, students that assists students with the transition from high school to college.

“I feel like that program also helped me be successful and taught me study skills,” said Nolan.

As an undergrad student Nolan became extremely involved on campus.

“I joined the orientation team and, became active in student organizations. I was a peer leader, a peer mentor, a peer everything,” Nolan said.

However, during Nolan’s senior year she endured severe trials. Her father unexpectedly passed away and ten months after graduation her mother also suddenly passed away. This had a drastic impact on Nolan’s life. The loss of her mother was extremely difficult for her because she was immensely attached to her. She not only had to cope with her emotions but also those of her two younger siblings. At the age of 22, Nolan had to become the head of her household and deal with the pressure of being a caretaker and provider.

Fortunately due to her campus involvement and position as a student leader, a large amount of staff and faculty knew what a superb person she was. As a result, Nolan was able to attain a full time job working on campus.

“It was the best decision I ever made because the campus officials knew me because I was a super involved student leader. It was a really nice environment to go through that grieving process because everyone was super supportive and loving,” said Nolan.

After eight years of working at Cougar Central, Nolan went on to study at a business school where she became an academic advisor. However, Nolan’s heart belonged to CSUSM and she was drawn back.

“I really wanted more face to face contact with CSUSM students because I so enjoyed being a student leader in my time there, so I pursued a job in Student Life and Leadership as a coordinator in student Involvement and have loved it ever since,” Nolan said.

Along with being the coordinator of Student Life and Leadership, Nolan is now teaching her first semester of GEL.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do for years, I’m excited to be in the classroom and take all these experiences that I’ve gone through as a student and a graduate student to give to you all as students.”

Nolan also talked about what advice she would give to students who are afraid to get involved.

“What’s good about getting involved on campus is you get that tangible experience to utilize for your future. This is the time to explore and stretch yourself in a safe environment designed to make you succeed. So people who want to get involved you better just go and do something.”

Shannon Nolan is an incredibly hardworking woman who doesn’t let life changing obstacles prevent her from achieving success. She is an absolute inspiration and is living proof as to why people should never give up, even when the odds are against them.