May 30, 2017
To Shannon Roth, being a Mountaineer is a feeling.
“It’s the feeling I felt the very first day as a WVU student. I instantly felt connected to a community. I just felt so welcome and had a huge sense of pride for my school and my state,” she said.
The recent West Virginia University College of Business and Economics graduate embarks on her new journey as an associate IT systems analyst at Highmark, Inc., in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, next month.
“I know it’s going to be different not being a WVU student anymore, but I know that the business school has done a really amazing job preparing me, and I could not be more excited to start my new job,” Roth said.
Growing up in the university city of Morgantown raised by two WVU alums, the passion and love for WVU was instilled in her at a young age.
“It was never really a question for me. I always knew I was going to be a Mountaineer,” she said.
It was also her parents that fostered her interest for information technology, as her mother works in IT at the WVU Health Sciences Center and her father formerly worked in IT at Mylan Pharmaceuticals.
“I remember when I was a little girl, my dad would take me to see Mylan’s databases. Just walking through the database center, I thought it was awesome. That’s really what sparked my interest in the technology field,” Roth said.
In the College of B&E, students in the management information systems (MIS) major are taught to bridge the gap between the business and technology industries. So, as a MIS major with an area of emphasis in global supply chain management, Roth picked up on that dynamic immediately, beginning to really nurture her communication and problem-solving skills.
“I think it’s the perfect major. I love working with people and communicating with people. It is so gratifying to work with external clients and then communicate their needs to IT developers,” she said. “But I also really love coding. I think it’s so much fun.”
Roth strived throughout her four years at WVU to gain valuable, real-world experience to ensure she was ready to head into the workforce upon graduation. And to say she did just that – well, that’s simply a euphemism.
She was an intern at Highmark, Inc., during the summer of 2016, which led to her full-time opportunity. She was on the Salesforce team, a customer relationship management software with many functions to help connect with consumers. So, with her bubbly personality and IT expertise, Roth worked in the health insurer’s Salesforce applications with internal and external clients to customize their systems.
Roth didn’t stop with just the one real-world experience. She was also a personnel recruiter for M&S Consulting during her junior year. And let’s not forget about her extracurricular activities within the College. She was a member of the WVU Supply Chain Management Association and Management Information Systems Association student organizations at WVU.
“With all the opportunities that the business school presents, it’s smart to take advantage of all these things. They give you so much experience. They’re awesome and I would just encourage everybody to be proactive and never wait until the last minute to do anything. Do it now, today,” she said.
On top of all that, Roth exercised her skills in both the Deloitte Case Challenge and the third annual Target Case Study Competition. Partnered with her brother, Skylar Roth, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, the duo brought home second place in the Target Case Study Competition in April 2017.
“In my MIS classes, we’ve done so many technology advancement presentations, so it was really easy for me to kind of have a feel for what they wanted. The challenge was to find out how Target could improve their digital and competitive landscape and how they could increase their e-commerce sales,” she said. “Our solution was to introduce Target to augmented reality, which puts a digital overlay over what the customer would see. So, they can walk around with their smartphones at Target and they can see deals popping out at them or they can be at home and pull up the Target app, put their phone up and see what a couch would look like in their living room.”
But those are memories now. On May 13, Roth marched across the stage at the College of B&E Spring 2017 Commencement Ceremony. Accepting her diploma and turning her tassel to the left, she became an alum — a forever-Mountaineer, carrying that pioneering spirit and the people she met at B&E with her wherever she goes.
“I have the best relationships and it’s weird because I talk to my other friends who aren’t in the business school and they don’t have relationships like I do,” she said. “I’m so close with so many people and I feel like I just got the best education here from my MIS professors and my supply chain professors. I feel like they were so motivating and made me proactive in preparing myself for future employers.”