From skating for Team USA to helping fellow students, Shannon Keys is on a roll

Shannon Keys capped her competitive roller skating career by representing Team USA in Nanjing, China, at the inaugural World Roller Games. Now she uses the lessons she learned skating as a supply chain management major and as president of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Weeks of Welcome, first day of classesShannon Keys capped her competitive roller skating career by representing Team USA in Nanjing, China, at the inaugural World Roller Games. Now she uses the lessons she learned skating as a supply chain management major and as president of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. (Photo by August Jennewein).

Balancing acts are Shannon Keys’ specialty – literally and figuratively.

The junior developed the keen attention to detail and precision necessary for supply chain management by roller skating competitively and internationally for nearly eight years before coming to the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“It was a lot of commitment,” Keys says. “My coach lived in Chicago, so I traveled there every weekend – or every other weekend – and trained up there for weeks at a time during the summers.”

All the hard work and travel paid off.

Keys represented Team USA in Nanjing, China, at the inaugural World Roller Games in 2017. The multisport event includes 11 roller sports regulated by World Skate, the international governing body. She adds with a laugh that most people probably haven’t heard of it but quickly notes the competition is Olympic caliber.

She competed in artistic roller skating as part of a quartet. Akin to figure skating, the discipline includes lifts, spins, footwork and synchronization.

“It was jungle-hunter themed,” Keys says. “One of us was an animal, and three of us were hunters trying to catch her. That was the story of our routine.”

The experience in China felt like a fitting final chapter to her competitive skating career. High school had concluded as well. With both ending, Keys put her focus into college and creating a career path for herself. She gravitated toward a major that mirrored her nature.

“I’ve always had a mind that was organized,” Keys says. “I like to see things organized in a certain way.”

At UMSL, she’s using those skills as president of Delta Sigma Pi, a coed business fraternity, to help students prepare for a life beyond graduation. Keys and her officers strive to help members develop professional skills. They organize events like career readiness workshops where students can get free business cards, professional headshots and networking tips.

The position provides plenty of leadership experience, but Keys is also seeking real-world know-how before her expected graduation in December 2020.

This summer, she put her skills to the test as a procurement intern with Hub Group, a third-party logistics company that matches large companies like J.C. Penney and Pfizer with smaller trucking companies to move freight.

Keys made sure the numbers added up.

“I did a lot of audits on the rate entries put into the transportation management systems,” she says. “When it comes to people’s money, you want to make sure they’re being charged the right amount.”

Keys enjoyed her foray into the transportation industry, but she anticipates future internships will help her find the right path.

“Supply chain is the right field,” she says. “I just need to find exactly what type of job would be best for me.”

This story was originally published in the fall 2019 issue of UMSL Magazine. If you have a story idea for UMSL Magazine, email magazine@umsl.edu.

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