On her first visit to Georgia Southern University, graduating senior Brianna Shirey felt like she was home. So she packed her bags and moved from Rentz, Georgia, to Statesboro to begin her college journey in fall of 2018.
“After my tour, I was 100% committed to becoming a Georgia Southern Eagle,” Shirey said. “I just knew from that tour that I could find my place on campus and I enjoyed how beautiful the campus was.”
Shirey found her place in the Parker College of Business, eventually choosing to study marketing after exploring other majors.
“When I came to Georgia Southern, I told myself I was going to pursue nursing,” Shirey said. “But that changed quickly when I realized I couldn’t handle the sight of blood. I turned my attention to a degree in business and when I was able to do hands-on research, I knew I made the right decision.”
The opportunities provided to Shirey through the Parker College of Business and the Honors College opened her mind to careers in the field of healthcare outside of nursing. This helped her find a new direction for her passion.
“I had the opportunity to shadow different individuals in health administration,” Shirey said. “Now I know that I want to pursue a career in risk management in the medical field.”
Through the Parker College, Shirey was able to put research into practice by joining a team representing Georgia Southern in the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation Student Challenge, a college-level business case competition. Kristen Ruhland, a marketing lecturer in the Parker College of Business, served as a coach for the team and as Shirey’s honors thesis faculty mentor. Ruhland is the individual who Shirey felt had the most significant influence on her college experience.
“She always pushed me to go above and beyond, and to keep going even when I didn’t think I could,” Shirey said. “If it wasn’t for her constant motivation, I wouldn’t have been successful in the Honors College. I am super thankful to have a role model like her.”
During her final two years as an Eagle, Shirey helped build upon the sense of community that brought her to Georgia Southern by getting involved in a variety of organizations. She spent time as a leader with Georgia Southern’s new student orientation team, SOAR, and joined Southern Ambassadors, Southern Leaders and Phi Eta Sigma. She also worked as a student assistant for the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance.
“My involvement allowed me to make so many connections,” Shirey said. “I have friends and memories that I couldn’t have made without these organizations. My favorite memory is Camp SOAR. The weekend trip allowed all of the 2021 SOAR leaders to get to know each other before the summer began. I made so many friends on that trip and it truly started the summer off right.”
Shirey enjoyed engaging with new students as a SOAR leader and shared her number one piece of advice for incoming Eagles.
“Make the most of your time here at Georgia Southern,” Shirey said. “Your time will fly by, so make sure you get involved on campus and make plenty of memories!”
Shirey graduated in the Fall 2021 Commencement ceremonies with a bachelor’s in marketing. Now that her moment to lead in her field has arrived, she’s ready. She plans to continue her education by working toward a master’s degree in health administration on Georgia Southern’s Armstrong Campus in Savannah beginning in August 2022.