Meet the Global Staff: Spotlight on Shannon Smith
Did you know that the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) has a number of globally-focused staff members and student staff that advance our triparite mission? In this series, we'll be introducing you to these individuals and exploring how they engage with and support the students, faculty, staff and partners in IANR. The next in this series is Shannon Smith, coordinator for global experiences for CASNR students and joint member of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dean's Office Team and the UNL Office of Global Experiences.
Who is Shannon?
I joined the CASNR Global Learning Hub in July 2022! I am from Orange County, California, but I've lived in Nebraska since June 2018. Prior to joining UNL, I worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service. I'm also a graduate student with the School of Natural Resources and I'm studying applied ecology. In my free time, I like making ceramics, latch hooking, hiking, spending time with my hamster and cat, and visiting new places in Nebraska. My favorite places in Nebraska so far are Toadstool Geological Park in Harrison, NE, Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford, NE, and Pioneer Village in Minden, NE.
What got you interested in global education or global affairs?
During my undergraduate studies, I interned as an Assistant Student Coordinator with the international programs office at a university in Queretaro, Mexico. I really enjoyed the challenge of living and working in a new country where English wasn't the native language; it taught me a lot about how to adapt to a new culture and communicate daily in a non-native language. I knew I wanted more experience working in another country, so after I graduated, I joined the Peace Corps and worked in Indramayu, Indonesia, teaching English at an Islamic high school for two years. Since then, I've always pursued opportunities in my career that allowed me to work with others from different cultures, backgrounds, and countries, and I'm excited to continue those opportunities with UNL!
Why do you think global learning is important for students at UNL, the U.S. or more broadly)
Global learning is a fantastic way to open yourself up to new perspectives, cultures, languages, and people, both inside and outside of the US. Even if you don't travel outside of the United States, working with communities or people from different countries and cultures expose you to new ways of thinking that make you more empathetic, adaptable, and understanding of the world around you. I recommend that every student finds a way to participate in a global learning experience because it will benefit you so, so much throughout your life as you enter a diverse and constantly changing workforce, no matter where you choose to work or what you choose to do.
What is your role/ portfolio of work?
I am the Global Experiences Coordinator for CASNR, meaning I'm here to help students find the right global learning experience to participate in during their career at UNL. I'm available to answer any questions about what education and internship opportunities exist for students, both virtually, locally, and internationally, and how they can apply and prepare for their experiences. I can also provide students with information about what scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available to help fund their experiences, if needed. In addition, I'm available to help CASNR faculty members prepare and plan for their upcoming programs. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to meet with me or to answer any questions that you have, I am here to help!
What is one accomplishment that you’re most proud of over the course of your work?
It's hard to pick one accomplishment exactly, so in general, I'm proud of my experience with the National Park Service, where I learned a lot about producing educational videos and programs for participants with varying accessibility needs. It's something I didn't have a lot of knowledge of prior to learning about Section 508 (IT accessibility rules), and during my time there, I learned about how to create accurate audio descriptions for visually impaired audience members and how to build educational programs for non-native English speakers. It motivated me to want to further explore global experience opportunities available to students to meet their accessibility needs to ensure all students have access to these experiences.
Stay tuned for our next feature on Shabani Muller, the graduate assistant for the CASNR Global Learning Hub.