May 4, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
– Shannon Bear will walk, “The Walk,” today, when along with 82 other Georgia Tech student-athletes she’ll graduate and reach the end of a road at the same time.
That’s one way of looking at it. Or, one might say that Bear will merely arrive at a fork in the road. In her case, she knows exactly where she’s going – to the University of Georgia for more school. So, it will be a different road, for sure.
With a 3.83 grade-point average in biochemistry, four straight All-ACC Academic team selections and back-to-back honors as a first team Capital One Academic All-District softball player, Bear has options.
She’s known for a while, however, precisely the path she would follow even if the choice of which pharmacy school to attend wasn’t made until recently.
“All through [Grayson] High School I liked science, but I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor and deal with patients because it freaks me out,” Bear said. “Since probably my junior year of high school I had the idea … a family friend had graduated from pharmacy school and was beginning a career. It seemed like something I would like.”
Bear has been marked for something special for a while. She graduated fifth in her high school class of 665. At Tech, she’s been a utility player, and this season she’s tied for third on the softball team with eight home runs, and fifth with 23 RBI. In her Tech career, Bear has played in 163 games and started 97.
School, though, has been her real deal.
“I’m the only science major on the team, and that’s kind of weird,” Bear said. “[Teammates] do tease me some, call me a nerd, which I am. I fully admit that.”
There was a chuckle or two as this short tale was told. Bear’s had a partner in science, actually, in Caroline Hilton.
The fifth-year student-athlete (she broke an arm in the first game of her junior year, and received a medical redshirt) graduated last year with a degree in aerospace engineering, and is in graduate school at Tech. She’ll take a master’s in industrial engineering in December.
“We were always the people who were studying,” Bear said. “She’s always wanted to be an astronaut. She has an internship at Boeing this summer at the Space Center in Houston.”
Bear’s summer will be spent working as a pharmacy technician at a Rite-Aid in Newnan, near her family’s new home in Peachtree City. After that and a brief trip to Scottsville, Va., for teammate Danielle Dike’s graduation party, she’ll head to Athens.
Her sister, Brittany, will earn a master’s at UGA in August, in speech and language pathology.
Shannon’s decision to keep doing it at Georgia wasn’t complicated, really. She was accepted at four pharmacy schools – UGA, Mercer, East Tennessee State and Campbell.
“It just came down to UGA had everything I wanted. It’s a great place, it’s close to home, less expensive than private or out of state,” she said. “Softball-wise, I don’t know anybody that will still be there, but I know a few other people from high school.”
Softball-wise, another road will come to an end soon.
“I’m hoping there’s a few games in us this year [the ACC tournament is next week],” Bear said. “I’m hoping to do some intramural slow-pitch at UGA. Hopefully, I can still play even if it’s just for fun.”
Shannon Bear may run the world of pharmacies some day. Congratulations to her and all of today’s graduates. That’s big time. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.