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FRESH Encounters: Shanna Finnigan

“I feel like I could be good friends with Aang from Avatar the Last Airbender. He's so serene, kind and very respectful too. I dig that.”

IYA freshman Shanna Finnigan is an artist with a passion for sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. An avid sketcher with an interest in venture management and computer science, Finnigan hopes to use her time at IYA to branch out...all while expanding her prized collection of stickers.

What does being at IYA mean to you?
IYA is pretty much everything I've ever wanted in a university program! I love art but am also interested in delving into a vast array of different things – from computer science to venture management and beyond. I think IYA is the perfect place for me to learn how to turn the ideas in my head into reality.

What is something about the way the world works that you'd like to disrupt?
I think that the way many schools (including my own high school) approach learning could do with some disruption, both systematically and in terms of resources they should look into. I've had some amazing and inspiring teachers who have looked at learning a bit differently, and have been able to teach information in a way that students are able to grasp, not just to pass tests, but forever!

Additionally, I'm interested in learning more about sustainability. I'd like to look into ways to change the mindset of consumers or find some sort of leeway when it comes to buying long-lasting vs. immediately disposable goods.

What are three goals you have this year?
I would love to:
1. Create my own portfolio website.
2. Find some engaging clubs to join.
3. Find an internship for summer break.

Who is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today? Why?
I really admire a lot of different entrepreneurs but, because I really enjoyed watching The Social Network, or maybe just because I've succumbed to the whims of being cliche, I'd have to say my pick is Mark Zuckerburg. He impresses me in particular because he can not only talk the talk, he also has the skill to back it up.

What are some things you want to know about your future senior self?
It would be interesting to know what kinds of projects I've been involved in and the new goals I have beyond my bachelor's degree.

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don't know that I have an unruly obsession with stickers - I have quite the collection.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
My dad has taught me a lot about finding confidence within myself, even at times when I feel terrible. If possible, I'd love to spread the advice he's given me over the years when it comes to overcoming the tendency to be self-conscious when placed in new situations.

What is a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?
The first thing that comes to mind is the fashion and community service club I started junior year of high school with two of my friends. We were able to help a lot of residents at a local homeless shelter by putting together business outfits they could wear to job interviews!


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Phone, chapstick, sunglasses, sketchbook, pencil, snack

Favorite app, service or website?
One of my favorite apps is Depop - it makes buying and selling used things so easy and professional. I'm really glad it exists.

If you could be best friends with one fictional character who would it be?
I feel like I could be good friends with Aang from Avatar the Last Airbender. He's so serene, kind and very respectful too. I dig that.

Thanks, Shanna!