Shannon Hughes

Shannon Hughes ’06

Director of Education and Programming; Metroparks Toledo

History and Political Science Major

“The specific degree you get is of course helpful, but the best part of the Hiram experience was learning how to learn and grow—appreciating diversity in all its forms,” said Shannon Hughes ’06. When looking back on her time at Hiram, Hughes found that the best thing about Hiram was learning how to learn. “We don’t place a high enough premium on the ability to learn and think rationally and independently. Debating, researching, writing, working as a member of a team; these are skills that are transferable to any career field,” she said.

After college, Hughes earned her master’s degree in public administration as well as her doctorate from Bowling Green State University. Currently, she serves as the director of education and programming at the Metroparks Toledo and was recently awarded the “20 under 40” Leadership Recognition award. Although successful in her career, Hughes’ main aspiration in life is to be the best mother she can be for her daughter. “As a young cancer survivor, I have learned that life is infinitely fragile and you are not guaranteed anytime no matter your age. It’s a beautiful fight—so keep in mind what you are fighting for—family, friends, love—whatever it might be, and make sure you balance that against the daily grind of life,” she said. “For me, there is nothing greater than being a role model for my daughter, my aspirations and goals are to continue to do that. Would I say no to a beachfront property in Puerto Rico? No, but there are more important things.”

Hughes took full advantage of her time at Hiram by playing softball and soccer, traveling abroad in England and France, interning with the Western Reserve Historical Society, and participating in an undergraduate fellowship for Shear-Mellon.

“Attending Hiram helped mold me into the person I am today. Undergraduate studies are a fundamental building block to who you are since you start at such as young age. I took advantage of every opportunity Hiram afforded me and that has continued on through my career and life,” said Hughes.

Hughes is active in volunteering, tutoring students, and coaching softball for her daughter. She sits on a nonprofit board for PAHM and has a second job consulting for nonprofits with interpretive and exhibit designs, as well as strategic planning.