Student Profile: Shannon Heath

Misha Khan

Photo Courtesy of The Riparian

Jacksonville University senior Shannon Heath was recently honored at the 10th Anniversary of Art with a Heart for her senior communications project. Heath made a short documentary properly titled “A Brush with Hope,” which shows the impact art has on pediatric patients.

Shannon Heath is a communications- broadcasting major who graduates in April. Originally from Jacksonville, Heath says that JU was not a tough pick.

“I am from Jacksonville and I actually have an older sibling who went here as well,” Heath said. “I knew I wanted to stay local but I wanted something more out of a university. I did not want to go to a public university and had been to JU, and I really liked the environment here.”

Heath has had quite an eventful time at JU and even interned not only in Jacksonville but also at the opposite end of the country in Seattle, WA.  According to her, being a successful television broadcasting major meant branching out and moving around.

“I knew that I wanted experience from a large market, basically a big city,” said Heath, regarding her decision. “I applied to a bunch of places including Seattle and that was the one I really wanted. They called back and said pack your bags.”

Heath worked as an intern in Seattle for three months, an experience she describes as the best one in her life and a place which taught her a lot more about broadcasting.

“You get to see what big city news is like and that’s pretty cool.”

Heath is undeniably talented and confident in front of and behind the camera, but her work includes more than just videos. Heath has done photography throughout college to help support herself and it was one of the reasons why she picked the Art with a Heart foundation for her project.

“I make documentaries and take pictures so I have a very creative eye and when I found this organization that uses its own creativity to help these children that are suffering from cancer it hit my heart,” she said. “I just knew that I wanted to work with it.”

Heath said, after meeting the founder, Lori Guadagno, it solidified everything.

“I picked this organization because of how wonderful she is,” she said. “She cares so much about these kids that it’s insane. They are not getting paid but donate all their time to sit with these kids.”

The foundation is indeed a beneficial one. Every child and parent Heath interviewed mentioned how powerful of an impact it had. Heath mentioned how the children are told what all to do and lose their freewill, which the Art with a Heart foundation compensates for.

“They are offering them a creative outlet and giving them a choice.”

After graduation Heath’s goal is to move to a large market and work her way up as a broadcast journalist. When she leaves she will take millions of precious memories with her.

“A lot of my school experiences are centered around Dr. Willette because I have worked with her so much,” she said. “Going to the Associated Press awards with her every spring is one of the most fun things you get to do in broadcasting. We win an award every year usually and then at night we get a professional banquet.”

Heath is a theatre minor and says that acting is a huge part of her life. She recently starred in a Little Women production at Experimental Theatre. For now Heath is enjoying her last days at JU, grateful that she didn’t pick any other school.

“I love JU,” she said.”I have had so many opportunities here that I do not think I would have been offered anywhere else.”