Our newest and truest copywriter Shannon Sweeney comes to us from the wonderful world of journalism. When we’re not hazing her, Shannon is crushing copy and keeping our Twitter account popping. Read more about Shannon below.
What drew you to copywriting?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. I chose journalism in college because I loved the thrill of writing on deadline, getting the exclusive interview, and breaking the story. I loved pouring hours into copy editing headlines, designing pages, and helping young reporters develop their voice. I covered higher education in college and in my first job, and I fell in love with the industry. Copywriting allows me to fuse those two passions—writing and education—together.
What piece are you most proud of writing? (Over the course of your career.)
My favorite piece is from college. I was in an international reporting class and we went to Hong Kong my junior year, and we all came up with our own story ideas. I wrote about Filipino nannies in Hong Kong and why they were there. I talked to dozens of women who had to leave their families behind in the Philippines to find nannying jobs in Hong Kong. Most of these women were highly educated—I spoke with accountants, chemical engineers, teachers—but they couldn’t find work back home. So instead, they traveled hundreds of miles to live in a foreign country just to support their families. They were some of the bravest, most dedicated women I’ve ever met. Telling that story was an honor.
What do you love about higher ed?
I love the impact it has on our society as a whole. I love seeing students passionate about what they’re studying and how they want to leave their mark on the world. It’s inspiring. Higher ed gives you so many opportunities to find yourself and what you’re passionate about. I met so many people in college who were raising millions of dollars for pediatric cancer, volunteering their time to support sexual assault victims, or supporting a political cause—all while balancing classes and exams.
What’s your grammatical pet peeve?
Punctuation outside of quotation marks, by far. I cringe just thinking about it.
Who are your favorite writers?
John Branch from The New York Times is my absolute favorite journalist. He’s a sports writer, and he does a lot of long-form pieces. He won a Pulitzer for a piece called “Snow Fall” in 2013 and also wrote a book called “Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard,” about a former hockey player. As far as fiction writers go, I have to give a shoutout to J.K. Rowling because I’ve re-read the Harry Potter series at least three times. I also love Beatriz Williams, who’s written a lot of historical fiction.
Where would you most like to live?
I don’t have a specific city or place, but I’d love to live by the ocean one day. I absolutely love the beach (despite my super fair complexion) and nothing makes me happier than drinking a cup of coffee, reading a book, and hearing the ocean in the background.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’ve always wished I could sing—rather, sing well. I love belting my favorite songs in my car or in the shower (where no one can hear me) but I don’t have any actual talent. My grandmother was a fantastic singer, but sadly, I didn’t get those genes. Fun fact: I was once forced to audition for a solo in a high school choir class and it was the most embarrassing moment of my school career. My voice cracked and everything, and the theater kids definitely judged.
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