Student Remarker Plans Career Fighting Chronic Disease Disability
Shannon O’Connor, MA, president of the University Student Government Association (USGA) and a political junkie who watches C-SPAN every morning, says she may be interested in running for office outside of the University someday. But she would do that only if it were the best way to achieve her career goal: Reduce the burden of chronic disease-related disability among older adults.
“Through my research, I have found that older adults with reduced access to health care and lower health education tend to be more likely to experience acute health events related to chronic disease, leading to hospitalization or even death,” says O’Connor, a fifth-year graduate student pursuing her PhD and MS, and this year’s student remarker during the University’s commencement program, which will take place May 17 at 1st Mariner Arena. “I feel that my current skill set would be best suited for policy development within an administrative role, such as in higher education or hospital administration.”
Before being elected USGA president, O’Connor served for two years as president of the Graduate Student Association, and she has held other elected and appointed positions in both organizations. Her academic and research accomplishments at the University include completing coursework for a dual-degree program in epidemiology and gerontology policy—she is working on her dissertation—and performing clinical research for four years as a graduate research assistant on a study
“I have gained a wealth of knowledge conducting clinical research, specifically among older adults,” O’Connor says. “I also developed a particular interest in bioethics and would be very pleased if my future career includes exposure to bioethics in practical settings.”
Currently a grant manager of an evidence-based chronic disease self-management education program at the Maryland Department of Aging, O’Connor says she is honored to speak as the student remarker.
“As UMB’s student body president, I’ve come to realize that this University has some of the most exceptional student scholars with whom I have ever had the pleasure of interacting,” O’Connor says. “I feel humbled to have been invited to give remarks on such
a momentous occasion.”