Since her graduation from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, alumna Shannon Stone ’99, of Washington D.C., has taken the world by storm through her passion for foreign relations. Her contribution to the U.S., as well as to foreign countries, has earned her a 2014 Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Stone is the Burma desk officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and has been a key player in USAID’s mission targeting aid and assistance to Burma to help with economic reform.
As she worked hard in the classroom to earn her bachelor’s degree in special education at UW Oshkosh, Stone also was involved in University clubs and organizations. Stone served as an Oshkosh Student Association board member and was part of the UW Oshkosh Model United Nations Team.
“Shannon Stone participated in Model United Nations for each of her years at the University, being selected as a member of the National Model United Nations delegation as a freshman and serving as a member of our award-winning delegations at the Midwest Model United Nations for several of those years,” UW Oshkosh international studies professor Kenneth Grieb said.
The National Model UN involved more than 5,000 students from 250 universities on five continents; the Midwest Model UN involved 800 students from 50 universities.
Stone attributes her time as a member of Model UN as a learning experience during which she gained valuable life skills that helped take her succeed in college and beyond.
“Being a part of the UW Oshkosh Model United Nations gave me three very important skills: researching, writing and public speaking,” Stone said. “These skills have allowed me to excel in my career… Dr. Grieb pushed me and the Model United Nations team farther than we as students ever thought possible. There were times when it was tough to reach a bar that was raised so high, but if he would not have raised it so high we may not have achieved the success we have today.”
After graduation, Stone took a teaching job at the Institute Lomas Del Real in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where she taught sixth grade and served as the academic director.
Stone also was the academic coordinator of English Unlimited in San Luis Potosi, where she supervised and evaluated teachers, developed course curriculums and teacher-training manuals, developed and implemented teacher-training workshops for local school teachers and taught English courses to adults and children.
She returned to Wisconsin and worked as a special education teacher at Hortonville Elementary School from 2000 to 2002. Stone then moved to Washington D.C. and earned her master’s degree in international education from the George Washington University in 2004.
From 2005 to 2007, Stone was the assistant program director for the South Asian Teacher Training Project at George Washington University in D.C. She developed and implemented a six-week, teacher training program for secondary school English teachers from India and Pakistan.
From 2002 to 2008, she also worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service as a partnership program specialist where she coordinated partnerships with international and nonprofit organizations to protect the natural environment through education and awareness programs.
In 2008, Stone began working for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in D.C. as an education development officer in Egypt and the Philippines. In Egypt, she was responsible for assisting in the development of a new basic education strategy.
In the Philippines, Stone was responsible for managing a $60-million education portfolio that focused on access to education, teacher training and programs for out-of-school children and youth. She also led the education team in the creation of a new five-year education strategy, launched the first USAID/Philippines adult literacy program and developed and implemented teacher-training workshops.
“Shannon understood the importance of primary and secondary education to the Philippines’ development and worked hard to craft programs that would offer increased opportunities and improved curriculum to Filipino students,” said Harry Thomas, former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.
In 2011, Stone took a year of leave to join her husband in India. There, she worked as a consultant for the United Nations World Food Programme, assisting in the development of a new Targeted Public Distribution System aimed at ensuring that India’s most vulnerable population receive monthly rations of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil.
Her leadership and success in the Egypt and Philippines educational development projects, as well as her time in India, led Stone to her current position as the Burma desk officer for USAID in the Office of East Asian Affairs (EAA).
“Burma is considered one of the highest priorities for the Asia Bureau, given the historical democratic transition that has been evolving over the last two years,” deputy director of EAA Adam Schumacher said. “… As the Burma team leader and desk officer, she has made a very positive impression with the assistant and deputy assistant administrators for the Asia Bureau in managing this very complex and politically sensitive portfolio.”
Stone has facilitated the reopening of the USAID Mission in Rangoon, Burma, and the development and implementation of a $170-million assistance program targeted toward economic reform. She also serves as the USAID liaison with the Department of State, the White House, as well as other agencies.
But no matter how far her job takes her, Stone takes the time to remember her five years at UW Oshkosh and the connections and friends that she made there.
“UW Oshkosh feels like home because of the close connections that I developed with fellow students and teachers,” Stone said. “I felt I received an extraordinary amount of support throughout my time as a student at UW Oshkosh.”
Stone and nine other award winners will be recognized at the Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, Oct. 17 in the new Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.
For more information about the alumni awards dinner during Homecoming 2014, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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