Shelby Viereck Springer, Geneva Class of 2015, is the highlighted alumna for this quarter. Here are her responses to a standard set of questions which are given each quarter to an alumnus or alumna to answer.
Please give a current update on yourself (college/graduation year, major, grad school, work/career, family, other interests, service or hobbies).
I graduated from Texas A&M in May of 2019 with a BBA in Marketing, Concentration in Professional Sales. Call me crazy, I got married one week later! In July 2019, I started the AT&T Business-to-Business Sales Training program in Dallas, Texas. Now, I am an account manager for our global healthcare accounts.
My husband, Trevor, and I volunteer with our church’s youth group each week. We also enjoy traveling when possible. We adopted a puppy in the middle of the pandemic and he’s the best work-from-home buddy I could’ve found. Speaking of home, we also closed on our first house in December 2020! We enjoy living in the city and meeting new people from all different backgrounds.
In what ways did your Geneva education/training prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A Geneva education is unique in many ways. In my day-to-day work, I find myself grateful for the communication skills that Geneva helped my develop. This includes something as simple as crafting professional emails with proper grammar, or as complex as putting together and presenting proposals to multimillion dollar companies.
Although many students may dread creating and presenting their senior thesis, it has proven to be one of the most valuable exercises I went through at Geneva. As a result, I can stand in front of anyone and communicate important content without fear. This was crucial both in college and now out in the real world.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Geneva.
The most significant value I learned from Geneva is service. No one told me to serve someone else if they weren’t doing so themselves. I constantly saw friends, teachers, administration, and families serve one another and the community.
I always thought it was neat that my peers and I got to leave school for a couple hours on Fridays to volunteer at Hill Country Daily Bread Ministries. Since Geneva is heavily focused on education, it meant a great deal to set aside time to serve the community.
During my days at Geneva, you could find Mr. Shelton picking up trash around the courtyard. Mrs. Evans would stay late after football games to make sure everything was put away properly. Lauren Peterson convinced me to help her get 10+ free drinks from Freedom Cup for teachers or her teammates. Mrs. Greenlees would help us with our Algebra homework during lunch. Mrs. Wheeler opened up her room for Chaucer meetings. These are just a few examples of how the people around me constantly served one another. They taught me service by setting an example.
How would you encourage a Geneva Rhetoric School student to make the most of their Geneva years?
Be engaged. There are plenty of shortcuts you can take such as memorizing instead of learning or using Spark Notes instead of actually reading. You can slide by and get the grades you need, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. However, you’re at a unique school with incredible teachers. I challenge you to stay engaged, converse with your teachers, and put forth the effort to learn more and more. Go the extra mile. Take an extra class your senior year because you have the opportunity to learn.
Describe Geneva in one word. Explain.
I thought about this one for a while and landed on sacrifice. Many families make huge financial sacrifices for their kids to go to such an amazing school because they see the value in the education and community that Geneva provides. In addition, since we don’t have a bus system, parents must drop their kids off and pick them up from school every day. Typically, this involves quite a drive too. I only know a handful of people who live within 10 minutes of the school. It took me working in the corporate world to understand how much of sacrifice our families made for us.
Students sacrifice time and energy too. Our curriculum often requires extra hours of studying that could be spent doing a variety of different things. Balance is always important, but many students sacrifice free time and rest.
Let’s not forget the people who make the education possible – our teachers. I can confidently say we have the most loving and most educated teachers around. They could likely make much more money teaching or working elsewhere, but they make this sacrifice to help educate us. I’m incredibly grateful for the relationships that we get to have with our teachers and their sacrifices demonstrate how much they truly care for us.
Please share one or two of your Geneva extracurricular activities and then compare/contrast that with one or two of your current non-work activities.
In high school, my Geneva related extracurriculars included sports, academic competitions, and band. Outside of school, I rode horses and worked. I list each of these things to communicate that I was busy, and I loved being busy. My college experience was a similar story. I carefully planned every minute of every day so that I could balance classes, organizations, and time with friends.
Now, life is different. My non-work activities include volunteering with youth group, attending Bible study, and spending time with friends. Work takes up most of my time, but I’ve also learned how important it is to slow down. Nowadays I look forward to downtime and rest. It’s a change of pace from high school and college, but I have found that it’s more valuable to be mentally present in a few things rather than spreading myself too thin.
What are your future career goals and how do you feel prepared for them?
This is the question of the decade. I used to answer this question easily in college as I was interviewing for different organizations and companies. Funny enough, the more time I’ve spent in the workforce, the less I know about what my specific career goals are. Grad school may be in my future, but I’m saving that for when I figure out more concrete goals.
I do know that I enjoy leading, helping, and mentoring others. I want to be an expert in my field, whatever that may evolve into with time. Most importantly, I want everything I do to glorify the Lord. Only time will tell if his plan is for me to advance my career at my current company or doing something else, somewhere else.
Geneva provided me with opportunities in all of the above areas. Most importantly, I was surrounded by teachers, administration, peers, and families who sought to glorify the Lord and make him known. I will continue to carry that with me in future career endeavors.
How are you impacted by your work now? What is something you have learned/are learning about yourself and God’s world?
For most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people who have typically shared the same values as me. In high school, I think this allowed me to focus on education and community without many of the typical worldly distractions. In college, it was honestly cool to be Christian. Now, being in the city and in the workforce, I finally feel like I’m submerged in the real world. This time has pushed me to my limits and pulled me closer to the Lord.
Every day, I interact with people who don’t know the Lord or frankly don’t care about my values. The Lord calls us to love all people and make him known. That’s my goal for each day. It’s more difficult than ever before in my life, but it’s the real world and I’m happy to be an ambassador for Christ.