City StoriesFor public health undergrad Shannon Robinson, CU Denver’s urban environment provides unique opportunities and a rich learning environment. Every day is a new adventure, as she studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She’s grateful to engage with classmates from Colorado and around the world, in a city that’s experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and change.

Where does your inspiration for your work come from?

My inspiration mostly comes from my personal background. I’m originally from New York City and I moved all the way out to the country, and I’ve seen all different types of cities in the U.S., and what I realized is that there is an inherent gap between all the places I lived. I want to help fill that gap for future generations, and the present generation as well.

I’ve found from my personal background the importance of providing equity to people rather than equality. People tend to focus on the word equality so much right now, but I feel that equity is a bigger issue, so that people can not only receive the same resources but also the same access to those resources.

How does CU Denver’s downtown location enhance your research and teaching?

Shannon Robinson

I have a few internships here at CU Denver, and I’m a Learning Assistant, and being downtown really helps with that, because it provides me with a diverse student body to interact with. Whether that means students who are international or students who grew up right here in Colorado, being close to the metro area really provides a big range of opportunities.

How does it benefit you as a student?

As a student, being downtown has provided the opportunity to be in a city that’s in a really interesting place in America right now. Colorado is quickly developing from what was originally smaller towns to becoming a really integrated state.

All the different people and perspectives have helped me become a lifelong learner, a world learner. I also feel more invested in my community due to my academics teaching me about the issues that are relevant to my area.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I would say there are two quotes that I live by. The first one is an anonymous quote: “The strength of a society is based on how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members.” I really do feel that that is absolutely true, because a good community, a good society takes pride in how it treats all people and actually works in the weaker and more vulnerable demographics and communities to bring them forward into being on the same level as everyone else.

The second quote is, “Leave each place better than you found it.” It really builds this idea of community investment and also sustainability for every action that you do. You might not be here forever, but it is important to do your best and leave some improvement and change from when you first began.

What are your favorite non-academic interests?

I’m a really big comic book fan. Growing up, reading Marvel comics and others really made me want to be as cool as those heroes, especially the X-Men. They’re such a diverse group with crazy powers, and even though I don’t have claws coming out of my hands or laser vision, I still related to these characters because they were facing issues, and they were strong enough to withstand them and make the world a better place.

I think that being into comic books so young inspired me to want to change the world. Even though I might not be a superhero or anything, I want to do that.

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night?

What gets me up every morning is the fact that there’s always something to learn. Even a day of missed class when you decide to stay in bed, there’s something that you’re missing, there’s something more to learn that day. You never know what simple phrase might add something to your next research project, internship or just passion alone.

What keeps me up at night is whatever I do learn that day – deconstructing it, picking it apart, figuring out what precisely it is that matters about it and how we can expand upon that.

How would you describe the atmosphere and amenities of CU Denver and its urban surroundings?

I would say the atmosphere of CU Denver is like that of an unfinished story. It’s very open ended, meaning that students truly have the opportunity – because of how nontraditional the campus is – to weave their own path. Students truly have the opportunity here to make their own journey and to be their own person here, and that’s what’s special.

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