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Interviewing a public health scientist: Shannon A. McMahon PHD MHS

On Friday 16th, the English performance class met a close friend of Mrs. Holmes: The fascinating and accomplished Shannon McMahon.

A former journalist turned public health investigator McMahon visited us to answer our burning questions. We all had a basic understanding of her career and her accolades from the CV we read a day prior. Despite how early it was in the morning Shannon was very enthusiastic and responsive to our questions. One student in particular was very interested in her high school experience in the States. Another was interested in the reason she changed career paths (me). And someone else was curious about the power pharmacists hold in the US comparing to Germany. So, as you can see, we dove into an array of topics throughout the lesson. Undoubtedly, there were many drawn out silences, as everyone quickly tried to think of questions to fill them. But even so, Shannon never made the silences feel awkward or uncomfortable. In fact, she welcomed them, telling us that as a journalist, silence was good actually. She’d also ask us questions about our lives and our future goals, which was a nice change of pace. She encouraged us to voice any controversial opinions we might have, but unfortunately the most opinionated student in our class was absent that day.

All in all, it was a great experience. It isn’t everyday you get the opportunity to meet someone like Shannon. And thanks to her, we all now know what the word “think tank” means.