Senior Staff Assistant, Director's Office

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Shawn is the youngest of her parents' four daughters. Both of her parents encouraged an appreciation of art, particularly her father, an art teacher whose own paintings often hung in the house. Visits to museums were a regular part of her childhood. In high school, Shawn's interests turned to theater, and she served as stage manager for several of the school's productions. By graduation, she had decided to major in drama in college.

However, not long after Shawn started at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), she shifted her major to communications studies, which she found more to her liking in terms of the material and the teaching. She also developed an interest in the music industry, and two years after entering CSULB, she began working part-time for a musicians management company, monitoring budgets for studio work, organizing label copy for CDs, and transcribing lyrics. While she learned a lot from the job, the experience made her recognize some of the limitations of working in entertainment, and after three years she was ready for something different.

Shawn moved to San Diego and took a job with a consulting firm in the pharmaceutical industry that helped facilitate clinical trials. Her tasks included ensuring that quality control checks were initiated and completed and that documentation was correct. She also produced an online quarterly newsletter to improve communication among various divisions of the company that were located in different parts of the United States.

In 2000 the company closed her division, and she moved back to Los Angeles with the hope of working for a nonprofit organization. She found temporary work with the GCI in Field Projects, frequently filling in for staff on leave. She liked the work environment and particularly liked the people she worked with. The following year, she joined the GCI as a regular staff member, working as a senior staff assistant in the director's office. There she assists the director and his executive assistant with expense reports, scheduling, and travel arrangements. The work of the Institute continues to be interesting to her, and she enjoys the teamwork aspects of the job.

A major personal accomplishment this year was walking in, and completing, the Los Angeles Marathon. She plans to begin training in September to move up to the run-walk category for next year's marathon.