Belfast Telegraph

Shannon Shiver masters motherhood and student life at Queen's University

Shannon Shiver started her master’s degree in human rights law and criminal justice around the same time she was due to give birth to Mollie
Shannon Shiver started her master’s degree in human rights law and criminal justice around the same time she was due to give birth to Mollie

By Staff Reporter

A woman who balanced baby books with international law is graduating with a master's degree from Queen's University.

Shannon Shiver, from Castledawson in Co Londonderry, studied human rights law and criminal justice at QUB's School of Law.

Her interest in human rights began at the age of 15, when she became a member of Amnesty International.

However, she thought her dream of completing a master's degree in human rights law at Queen's would be put on hold when she discovered she was pregnant in her final year of her undergraduate degree.

Such was her passion for studying law, when Shannon received her acceptance letter she felt she couldn't decline and so embarked on her master's degree in human rights law and criminal justice, even though her due date was only one week after the course start date.

Shannon's daughter, Mollie, was born on October 16, 2015, and Shannon returned to class just a week later.

She battled post-natal mental health issues, but was determined to follow her dream of graduating.

Since beginning her course and Mollie's arrival, Shannon has achieved a Degree Plus Award as part of Queen's Master your Leadership summer programme, and completed an internship with the NSPCC.

She said: "Graduating with a master's marks quite a journey for me and, in many ways, I'm amazed at what I've achieved in the last two years.

"Mollie has been my motivation and I feel my graduation is as much a celebration of her life and it is of my studies.

"My beautiful, smart and kind-hearted little girl will be at the centre of the celebrations, and I hope my journey will be an inspiration to her when she's older.

"I've really enjoyed every aspect of student life at Queen's and I've received so much support, encouragement and reassurance from staff.

"The course has been fascinating, and the Master Your Leadership summer school was a real highlight.

"It was also incredibly exciting for me to be taught by the eminent and inspiring Professor Phil Scraton during the time the verdict of the Hillsborough inquest was released. His energy was contagious."

According to Shannon, juggling a master's with motherhood was challenging but worth the hard work.

"I can now relax a little and look forward to our first family holiday - a trip to Disneyland for Mollie," she said.

As well as starting a course in counselling, Shannon is currently working in an employment and training agency, Network Personnel, as an advisor and facilitator. She plans to progress her career in the community and voluntary sector.

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