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Mann named second Next Generation Faculty Fellow

Kim Chaudoin | 

Shawna Mann

Shawna Mann (’23), has been selected as the second recipient of Lipscomb’s Next Generation Faculty Fellowship.

The Next Generation Faculty Fellowship, which was developed out of Goal 4 in the Impact 360 Strategic Plan, aims to foster a more robust representation of faculty and administration from underrepresented groups at Lipscomb University. The program is open to Lipscomb faculty, staff, students and alumni. Those chosen to participate in the program receive full tuition paid to complete their doctoral studies in an academic area of need at our university. In turn, students will commit to return to Lipscomb upon the successful completion of their doctorate to serve in a faculty role for five years.

A native of Deltona, Florida, Mann is the communications coordinator and video content creator for the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. She earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and new media from Lipscomb in May 2023. Mann plans to pursue a doctorate degree in communications, film and media studies, or culture and performance. 

“Shawna was an excellent undergraduate honor student at Lipscomb,” says William Turner, special counsel to the president and distinguished professor of psychology and family therapy. “Her love and commitment to scholarship and Lipscomb were evident in her interview. Moreover, the selection committee deemed that there were multiple academic programs in need of someone with her interests and expertise."

Mann says she is excited about this opportunity. 

“What this fellowship means to me is indescribable beyond words,” says Mann. “I'm so grateful and honored to have people who believe in me and are willing to give me the opportunity to continue my education and join in the amazing work that is being done at Lipscomb. This is a life changing opportunity not just for me, but also people who look like me, and for my entire family, who are the backbone of who I am.”

“This fellowship has reignited my personal mantra of ‘Dream big always’ in a new way,” she continues. “I feel inspired to take on the journey ahead of me and am ecstatic for what's to come.”

Education is something Mann believes is life-changing and having the opportunity to impact the lives of students inspired her to pursue a doctoral degree. 

“Knowledge leads to opportunity in both a personal and collective sense. It's beneficial to oneself, but also to society. Having a curious, observer mindset of the world around me, I'm eager to discover more about it and about myself,” she says. “Education is transformational in all aspects of life and having that opportunity as a student has been invaluable to me. I'm passionate about sharing that experience with future students and walking alongside them while they discover both their gifts and questions about the world. Being a faculty member will give me the opportunity to pour back into the place which has helped mold me into who I am today.”

While a Lipscomb student, Mann was very involved on campus. She was one of four students selected to receive a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for their documentary, The Grand Ole Guitar, about the history of the Nashville Sounds baseball team’s iconic guitar-shaped scoreboard last year.

She also was a tour guide, Quest Team leader, Presidential Ambassadors Council member, intern for the Office of Spiritual Formation, producer of the campus newscast, a Singarama hostess for two years, Herd Media staff member and was a member of the Honors College.

“The impact Lipscomb has had on me is like nothing I could've ever imagined. I've gotten to be so many versions of myself,” explains Mann. “My heart and mind have been transformed in new ways allowing me to experience God in new ways and notice the love and wonder all around me. The little girl I was who used to make videos on her Mom's iPad would be blown away to know I've since won a Murrow Award, produced multiple documentaries, graduated from college, and met some of the best people in the world all from going to Lipscomb.”

Mann says she hopes her experience and determination to follow her dreams will inspire others. 

“Even in my short 23 years of life, I have the wisdom and experience to know that life is filled with the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows,” she shares. “For whatever reason, the lows often feel inescapable but I promise you it won't last forever. There is love, joy, hope and opportunity all around you. There is always a bigger picture and grander plan we can't see. For anyone reading this, I hope you always hold onto that.”