As a child, Shannon O’Connor was infatuated with cartoons — and when she learned that she could draw cartoons for a living, she knew right then and there that it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She’s always been involved with the arts, whether it be theater, crafts, or various clubs. Her passion for entertaining and making others happy carried her to Montclair State University (MSU), where she majors in Animation/Illustration. After she graduates in spring 2022, O’Connor would like to put her skills to use in a way that will have a huge impact on others.

“Art is so important in this world, and television is where many kids will find solace, and look for characters who are just like them,” O’Connor said. “I would love to be able to be a part of a team that creates that representation for children and adults alike.”

Since she was a freshman, O’Connor looked forward to joining the MSU Art Society club. She has now served as its co-president for two years. This club brings artists from all majors together where they collaborate and work on art in a fun, casual setting.

O’Connor began attending protests in March 2020 and has continued to participate whenever she can. She believes that support in numbers is extremely important to uplift voices against racism. She had also donated money to Black Lives Matter and smaller crowdsourced fundraisers for victims and people in need of support.

In the past, O’Connor has called out racist posts by family members on social media. Initially, she was afraid that she might upset them or those close to them, but she knew that their comfort level was not as important as educating them on why their posts were problematic. Afterwards, O’Connor felt much better as she was able to have more conversations with people close to her, and she also became more comfortable confronting microaggressions.

“I believe that it is extremely important as a society for those with privilege to use it for the benefit of those who are not as lucky. In this case, I feel it best to use my privilege in order to help uplift and showcase the experiences of those who have been impacted by racism and other social issues.”

O’Connor admits that she sometimes worries about life too much rather than simply enjoying the journey. If she could have one wish granted for herself, she would wish for comfort and peace.

She also believes that no one should ever have to live without having their basic needs met, and this is her wish for the world.

In leisure time, O’Connor enjoys thrifting, DIY-ing, attending concerts, hanging with friends, and taking night walks on the shore. The number one thing on her bucket list right now is to graduate college. She is focusing on gratuity and taking life one day at a time!