Countdown to Commencement: Shelby Blackburn

Abigail Cutlip, Student Reporter

Following old friends to Marshall, one senior says she has learned that her instinct as a “people person” could be shaped into a career. 

Shelby Blackburn, a marketing and entrepreneurship double-major from Minford, Ohio, decided to attend Marshall because some of her friends had also decided to attend, and the surrounding area reminded her of home.

“The area kind of reminded me of home, so it was kind of like a cozy feel,” Blackburn said. “And a whole bunch of my friends were also going to Marshall, so it was nice to know people and kind of feel like I had someone from home who was there with me.”

She decided to pursue marketing and entrepreneurship after a conversation with her mother in her senior year of high school.

“I had so many applications for different colleges, and Marshall’s list of business programs and my mom looked at me and she just said, ‘You are a marketing person. You’re a people person, but also you have a very strategic mind. You should definitely go into marketing,’” Blackburn said.

Though she hopes to directly put her degree to use, she knows that she can utilize it in many different ways.

“I want to own my own business, and I wanna help people as much as possible,” Blackburn said. “But if I would change my mind later, I also have that marketing degree where I can go into a field that I’m actually comfortable with and where I can do the most good.”

Blackburn started her freshman year undecided but focused on marketing. However, the COVID-19 pandemic began during her second semester. Though the transition online wasn’t perfect, she says that “they gave it their best go.” She also credits the professors with the transition. 

“I really appreciate the professors who made it work,” Blackburn said. “They definitely, like, made it as easy as possible to switch over.”

Before COVID-19 interrupted her freshman year, Blackburn really enjoyed doing Build-a-Bison during her Week of Welcome.

“It was definitely a fun experience when you’re freshly there with a whole bunch of different people who are also freshly there,” Blackburn said. “It was so cool to just be able to talk to people who were sharing the same experiences. It was definitely a sense of community.”

After she graduates on Apr. 29, she plans to start a career as an event coordinator in the Tri-State area, and she hopes to stay in Huntington.

“I don’t know if I’ll move yet, but hopefully there’s some availability or some sort of market in Huntington because I do love the city,” Blackburn said.