Shanice Oliver is a Business major with dual concentrations in Marketing and Sustainability Studies. Shanice is also an entrepreneur, a dedicated volunteer, and was recently named as a Lasallian Fellow for all of her contributions to the community. You can read more about Shanice’s story below.
CB: Tell us a little bit about your background.
SO: My name is Shanice D’Shara Oliver. I graduated from Bishop Byrne High School with Honors as well as being the valedictorian. I am currently a senior at Christian Brothers University seeking the expertise in marketing with the fundamentals of Spanish and sustainability. I am the oldest of three. I have a little sister named Kiana who is 17 -years-old and a little brother named Ivan who is 10-years-old. My lovely parents are Debra Hall and Antonio Smith.
Throughout my education my favorite subject was English because I loved to express and interpret my opinions of a story, even if my view was a little too intuitive. I love crafting and reading during my spare time. I usually read about current events in the world and write my notes on the side of the articles so I can be able to express my thoughts and ideas.
Some fun facts about me: I am a Virgo. My favorite color is green. My favorite food is tacos and anything with chips and dip. I like to make arts and crafts. I like suspense stories. My dream career is to be a Director of Marketing. My favorite shopping store is Francesca’s. My dream car is a Mercedes.
CB: Why did you choose to study marketing? Why CBU?
SO: I chose marketing because I believe it is in my blood. Speaking, presenting, and brainstorming have been things I have always done in my life. My grandparents always tell me the story of how I tried to make my own restaurant using my grandmother’s cooking. I called the restaurant Grandma’s Cooking. I would ask them to buy me arts and crafts so I could draw my own flyers. I would pass them out at my grandfather’s church and give them a menu along with the flyer. I would set the tables nicely and find objects around the house for centerpieces. Now, every time someone wants to decorate their house or find an outfit for a specific event, I am the person they call. My friends always say “I cannot wait to see how your house looks.” I honestly just love entertaining people, meeting people, and getting to know people.
I do not have an inspiration story about why I chose CBU. However, I can answer why I continued my CBU experience. CBU is an institution that challenges individuals to be the best they can be. The professors have standards for their students and will assist their students in any way, shape, or form. I knew CBU was special when I met Dr. Bevalee Vitali. My primary reason for reaching out to her was simply for educational and career guidance. After the time spent together, she was more than a professor to me but a friend. I can talk to her about personal issues and she will give me some heartfelt advice. I truly consider her to be my big sister. From that moment, I knew I would not have built that relationship with another professor at another university. Thank you, Bev, for your awesomeness!
After my freshman year, I became more confident about what I could do on campus. Professors like Dr. Burke, Dr. Vitali, Dr. Gross, and many more challenge students to be their best, and there is nothing better than a good challenge.
CB: Your work, service projects, internships, and more have all been centered on service and change making. What drew you to study marketing and has it been valuable in these endeavors?
SO: I absolutely love to network and meet people. What makes the work meaningful to me is knowing I am helping and making a difference. I recently learned in my career service class that I do not care so much about the pay of my job, but the ability to express my innovating ideas. I am a fast pace thinker, creative, and can talk your ear off (marketing is for me). A good friend of mine always asks me very psychological questions about what my purpose is and how I can use my gifts as a value tool. Many of the internships and service projects I have been a part of, I have used my field of study to the fullest. Being able to research a need in the community and implement a program to satisfy the need is so fun to me. Communicating, networking, planning, and creativity are not a walk in the park for everyone. I actually like to do those things and it is a wonderful feeling!
CB: Everyone in the School of Business was so proud when we found out you have been awarded one of the very select few Lasallian Fellows Leadership Awards for 2015. What does being Lasallian mean to you? Do you have any specific plans or ideas for how to impact the community as you serve as our Lasallian Fellow?
SO: There are five core principles of being Lasallian. My favorite one is inclusive community. Everyone is open to learn and grow from each other regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity and nationality, denomination, sexual orientation, and social class. Inclusive Community is more than just looking over each other’s differences; it is about accepting the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God and not one person is the same.
My plan as I move closer to graduation is to notify the United States that violence derives from people being full of hatred and not accepting to differences. Something I work very closely with is hunger within the City of Memphis. Whether people know it or not, food is used as a way to separate people by social status. Some people steal just so they can have a meal for the night. I am not justifying the act but there is a problem if people steal just to eat. I want everyone to have food security in all parts of Memphis. I am in the process of creating a system, along with other students, that provides healthy food supply to all people in Memphis community.
CB: You are an integral part of The Food Recovery Network. What is it The Food Recovery Network and how can others get involved?
SO: The Food Recovery Network is an initiative that serves the purpose to unite students from colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from their campuses and the surrounding communities and donating it to people in need. Being that Christian Brothers University is a Lasallian School, one of our primary goals is to foster service for the betterment of our community. Being sustainable and knowledgeable of the needs of the community is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of civilians. The CBU community can be involved with The Food Recovery Network by expressing interest to me, Jonathan Mosley, and Michael MacMiller. We are always looking for volunteers to help and serve the community.
CB: You have been highly involved with campus life. Tell us a little about your experience with campus activities, groups, fraternities/sororities, etc., and how it has been meaningful for you.
SO: The most meaningful part of being a part of campus activities, organizations, and groups is being able to help the community in different perspectives. Sorority community service, Delta Sigma Pi community service, Enactus community service, BSA community service, Honors Program community service, and etcetera have the desire to serve the community but they serve in different ways. The Honors Program loves to serve nonprofits in the Memphis community; Enactus serves students and teaches them about entrepreneurship, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated services the community based on specific targets and international concepts, and the list goes on and on. Being active makes one wiser about the issues of the community. I cannot count how many organizations I am actively a part of. I have served positions in many of the organizations, groups, and campus activities at CBU. Because I am so active in the majority of the organizations I am a part of, I have been over programming and coordinating events. People see active involvement as a positive attribute to their organization, and this has definitely helped in building my future and continuing my love for Memphis.
CB: I heard you started your own company! What can you tell us about it?
SO: The Pretty in ME is an initiative that caters to high school women. One of my heart-held passions is empowerment of women. Within the masculine driven world, young women do not understand their worth and value to humanity. Last year was my first year building on this idea I had. My first big event was reaching out to makeup artists around the Memphis area to contribute services to the young ladies who could not afford to “get pretty” for prom. The girls received manicures and polish changes on their toes. A boutique even donated dresses for the girls to choose from if they wished. Every woman should feel beautiful, that goes for all ages!
I have spoken at churches and teen improvement seminars to express to women they are beautiful!
CB: You are a very high achiever and hard worker. Who or what motivates/inspires you?
SO: My grandparents are my life! Without them I would not be able to have and achieve many of the things I have. My grandparents are a part of my academic goals, career goals, spirituality goals, family goals, and lifetime goals. Not being local does not stop them from showing their unconditional love for me. I work so hard because they work hard to give me anything I need. They will drive to Memphis just to stop by for an hour just so something can be handled. I tell them all the time “I am going to take care of you when I have my own money and my own house.” No retirement home for them.
CB: You spend so much time working and giving back to the community that I asked an old friend of yours what you do for fun or hobbies – and learned that you once played a state championship in basketball! When did you play basketball? What other fun secrets are you keeping and how to do you keep it all in balance?
SO: Wow, this is so funny! I played basketball for many years before I became a college student. It is nice to say I have a championship ring from my high school, Bishop Byrne. One of my fun secrets is that I love to dance and sing. Although I can move a little bit, my vocal chords need some tuning (they might improve over time). I always make time to enjoy my music, that’s probably the one thing that keeps me sane besides being around people. Having a balanced life is about sacrifice. You always make time for the things that you consider important (I guess I don’t consider sleep important lol). My personal definition of balance is: standing firm on your purpose, not falling for procrastination. Maintaining balance is not an easy thing but sacrifice is the way to success.
Truth be told, I recently started to practice balancing my life in different ways such as exercising, dieting, and saving. Throughout college life, I have grown to understand that there is more to life than just a career. I have a very diverse group of friends who I cherish and love. I have learned so much from them, and I do not think they realized it. I admire Jahleel Nelson’s organization skills. I admire Takeva Hicks’ leadership skills. I admire Whitney Stepter’s dedication skills. I admire Michael MacMiller’s motivational skills. I admire Kyera Suggs’ compassionate skills. I admire Jonathan Mosley’s execution skills. Being balanced is surrounding yourself with people who balance you. I keep everything in balance by taking what I observe and learn from my friends and apply it to my life.
CB: Looking back at all that you’ve learned and experienced, what advice would you give to other students?
SO: My advice would be, don’t be proud of your college — make your college proud to have you. Many students fail to go the extra mile, and a frequent regret is that they didn’t contribute more to their college campus while they had the chance. Try to be one of those students that your professors and classmates will remember in years to come. Make an impact.
Also, always think before you speak and act. I know of people who were not awarded opportunities because of how they act and communicate with students and faculty. Although we as students are in an adult environment, we must respect those who are above us regardless of the situation. You never know what favors you need that individual to do for you. Respect is everything.
CB: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t thought to ask?
SO: Something I believe every college student should explore is Study Abroad. Study Abroad is an amazing way to learn handson and in an impactful way. I went to Rome, Italy in Spring 2014 with the Honors Christianity and Spirituality class with Dr. Holmes. Learning should be about more than just the words written in a book. Learning about history in those fields where battles and conversions took place was amazing. Take a novel to the next level by reading it exactly where the author placed the characters. All these scenarios are being brought to life through study abroad programs. Taking a community of students and placing them in areas around the world in order to get a first-hand take on subjects can change their world. Even better, it can raise their desire and understanding of education to another level. Education means more to me than just what I learn within the walls of a classroom. Education is about knowledge of different cultures and collaborating with diverse people about topics of all kinds. If people are only exposed to one idea, or one way of viewing things, that is ultimately what they will believe. However, there are many ways of understanding the world, and you will never be able to articulate an informed opinion if you are not exposed to differing perspectives. That is why I feel that everyone should take advantage of learning around the world. Learn as much as you can through first-hand-accounts.