Shannon Master

Mom, Writer, TV/Event Producer and future Astrophysicist – because it's never too late to punch mid-life in the gut


I’m a mom and a wife, driven by wild ambitions backed by enough stubbornness and fueled with just the right amount angry optimism to achieve them. Over a year ago, I put my 20+ year professional career as a writer/producer in movies, television, marketing and communications on hold to pursue another wild idea – getting a degree in Astrophysics. My aim is to become qualified in the science and then bridge that knowledge with my expertise in communications, although the precise end goal remains a bit elusive. Most people are scientists first, not the other way around, but conformity isn’t one of my strong suits.

My life circumstances had me on my own supporting myself at 17-years-old before I graduated high school. While I did briefly attempt college, my options then were limited. What I lacked in support and finances, I made up for with an abundance of passion, vision and drive to gain a foothold in the career I was aiming for at the time, the entertainment industry in Hollywood. I excelled in the fast paced, unrelenting environment that had no room for failure. It was a harsh do or die line of work that gave me opportunities I never would have imagined for myself – traveling throughout 17 countries, working side-by-side with celebrities, and learning from some of the best filmmakers and crews in the business. I won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for a third for documentaries and television series I produced, wrote and directed. I did what I set out to do with nothing but sheer grit, determination and natural talent, so naturally, I figured I could do it again by finally having the opportunity to get my degree in the field I always loved, but never considered it something I could do – science baby!

I have the most amazingly supportive cheerleaders, each of whom will deserve all the credit when I reach the top of this mountain: my daughter, who I can now help with her math homework and who is my inspiration to never give up, because what would I be teaching her if I did; and my husband, who is the only kind of real man who can handle with love and understanding all that this wild lady has going on.

My message is one of perseverance, overcoming the obstacles that hold you back, and not letting your mistakes in the past define who you are or who you want to be. We are all capable of being true to ourselves and our life’s path, whatever, and whenever, that may be.

This picture was taken in the 4am cloak of a Wiesbaden, Germany hotel room the night I realized I had unwittingly crossed over – to middle-age.


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