Shannon Bean

Shannon Bean wants to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. The 20-year-old biotechnology student from Manchester, Maine, credits her father, a high school basketball coach, and her mother, a nurse, with fostering her compassion for others.

When she was 4 years old, two significant events occurred in Bean’s life: her hearing loss was discovered and she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

She attended public schools with a note taker in high school and first encountered American Sign Language here at RIT.

“Being here with the Deaf community helped me learn a lot in a short time,” the second-year member of the RIT Lady Tigers Basketball team says. She also has teammates who are deaf, and uses an interpreter during the games and at practice. (See Shannon's profile on

“Since third grade, basketball has been my favorite sport,” she says. “My dad taught me to play, and basketball is my passion.”

Another of Bean’s passions is science.

“I love science because I had great teachers who helped me develop that love,” she says. “I decided to major in biotechnology since I enjoy working in a hands-on laboratory setting. I’m also interested in the business side of biotechnology such as pharmaceuticals. This summer I hope to get a co-op in a lab.”

Between studying and basketball, Bean’s free time is limited, but she still finds time for fun.

“I love to work out,” she says. “The Student Life Center is amazing! It’s the first building I went in when I visited the campus, and I just fell in love with it!

“There’s so much to do here that I’m never bored!” she continues. “There are a lot of great clubs to get involved in. I’m part of Rotaract, a community service club, and I love to dance. I take a hip-hop class at the SLC and love it. It takes away any stress you might have – you don’t think about anything – you just dance!”

Bean plans to use her biotechnology education to help others.

“I’m thankful every day that there are treatments to help manage my diabetes. I want to try and find treatments for others who are not as fortunate as I am.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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