Published: Oct. 7, 2016 By
Meg shannon

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Program

The average American drives 37 miles in a day and nearly 300 miles in a week.* That number approaches the distance of about 316 miles from Amsterdam to Paris, a commute that CU professor Meg Shannon made while she was in graduate school. However, Shannon didn’t drive this distance.

She biked it.

“I saw a commercial one day advertising this weeklong ride from Amsterdam to Paris,” she said. “After September 11th, I felt like I needed a change, and that commercial just seemed to speak to me.”

Years later, Shannon continues to stay active with the hobbies available to her now that she lives in Boulder.

“I love hiking and being outdoors, and looking at the Flatirons every day,” she said. Shannon came to Boulder in 2014 to work as an associate professor in the department of political science. She specializes in international conflict management, teaching classes on international law, international organization and world peace.

“This is my dream school and my dream job,” she said. “The faculty here are really cooperative, and I like that there’s a strong presence of female faculty.”

This cooperative environment has led Shannon to further develop her research on international conflict. She started researching with two graduate students upon arrival at CU Boulder, and two other graduate students have since joined them in their studies.

“We study U.N. peacekeeping, and in our spare time we read about it and talk to each other about it,” she said. “This summer we had a reading group to keep our brains fresh and engaged. We met a couple of times a month to talk about new research in political science that we were interested in.”

Shannon is co-authoring several papers with CU graduate students and writing a book on the subject of U.N. peacekeeping and violence in civil wars. She is hoping to complete her manuscript by the spring, after which she may shift her focus of study.

“I took a trip to Israel this summer. It was the first time I’d been since college and it reminded me how much I enjoyed my senior thesis on how the Israeli peace agreements have influenced Palestinian human rights,” she said. “I’m thinking of going back to that, to look more broadly into how peace agreements between countries influence the human rights of the populations that live there.”

However, regardless of what her studies lead her to, Shannon plans to stay in Colorado for the time being. Boulder’s not only a place where she can enjoy the outdoors – it’s also the place where she was introduced to her significant other through a long line of contacts.

“He’s my real estate agent’s assistant’s cousin’s husband’s brother,” she said. The couple is now married and living in a place where Shannon can cultivate her teaching ability to new heights.

“This school really emphasizes teaching much more than anywhere else I’ve taught,” she said. “I’ve gone to at least one workshop every month, and it amazes me how many faculty go, and how they’re faculty of all ranks. They’re willing to stay current, and all of us are looking into how we can keep students engaged.”

*Statistics from U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration