JRF Alumni: Where Are They Now? Shani Allison

June 10, 2015 - Alumni

JRF Alumna Shani Alison (Penn State, JRF Class of 2001) oversees the planning and execution of complex projects related to the Super Duty Truck as a Program Management Analyst at Ford Motor Company. While that might be enough for most people, it is only Shani’s day job. A well-rounded professional, she focuses on growing and learning through dedicated involvement in professional and community groups, volunteers countless hours, and actively solicits others to give back. Shani judges essays for the Detroit Tigers’ Annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay & Poetry Contest; participates in the annual “Jackie Robinson Day with the Detroit Tigers” event where the essay contests winners are presented their awards during a pre-game ceremony on the field; and is an active Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association member, mentoring JRF Scholars who are attending college in Michigan.

The recipient of many accolades, including the recently announced “2014 Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award” as well as the “Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year Award” and the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Engineering Society of Detroit, Shani was recently named the National Society of Black Engineer’s “Member of the Year.” This year, JRF also recognized her as one of our42 Under 40 Distinguished Alumni.

Shani lives her life by adhering to two quotes, one from Jackie Robinson, the other from Muhammad Ali.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. “ — Jackie Robinson

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth” — Muhammad Ali

Both, she says, tie back to her mom who “instilled in her children that education and giving back are very important for success. Giving back to the community over the years has blessed me in many ways and it’s a rewarding feeling to be able to help someone else be successful with their life. I am truly an ambassador of the Jackie Robinson quote that all JRF Scholars and alumni hold dear – ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives’.”

Shani also volunteers her time to various academic institutions. She has motivated many budding talents in the engineering community and is a strong advocate for young adults to pursue STEM education. She is a mentor, committee member and lead planner for the parent/teacher session of The Society of Women Engineers Detroit, hosts an event each year at Wayne State University entitled Girls Engineering Exploration Day, and is engaged in myriad Penn State Engineering Diversity programs. She was selected as one of the seven Penn State alumni to receive the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, the University’s highest award for an individual. She also received the Penn State Engineering Diversity Award in 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s in Engineering Management from University of Michigan.


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