Shana E. Sumers ’12 chose Shenandoah University because it gave her the opportunity to major in music and play soccer, which wouldn’t be possible at other universities. She also loved the intimate class sizes because she knew she wouldn’t hold herself accountable at a larger institution.
“For a small school, there are large opportunities,” said Sumers. “Do your research from day one and take advantage of all that it has to offer. Don’t be the person that stays on one side of the campus or in one friend group.”
Some of Sumers’ fondest memories of Shenandoah are playing home games during the soccer season, her first solo in the percussion ensemble, all the theatre performances that she attended or performed in, and of course, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Another memory that sticks out to her is “snow blossom,” when the students were stuck on campus for two weeks due to a major snowstorm.
Sumers’ is the head of community for HER app, the largest community and dating app for LGBTQ+ womxn and queer people. In this position, she manages the in-app community space, moderation team, social media, email marketing, content, and co-hosts their podcast, “Bad Queers”. Since HER’s inception, Sumers has worked to build the app from the ground up and help grow the community that supports the wants and needs of LGBTQ+ womxn and queer people population, which now has over five million users worldwide.
Sumers says that are too many rewarding experiences in her career to count. However, if she had to choose a few, they would include the planning and implementation one of the most popular LGBTQ+ Panels at South by Southwest, launching the “Bad Queers” podcast, hosting events in cities around the world, and seeing all the couples that met on the HER app, #WeMetOnHER.
Although Sumers isn’t practicing music therapy at this time, she was a music therapist for five years, and believes that her Shenandoah education has prepared her for her current career. “While I am no longer utilizing the music part of my music therapy degree, the psychology and behavior courses are carried with me daily,” said Sumers. “My network from Shenandoah is amazing and incredibly supportive.”
Sumers couldn’t have asked for a better group of faculty and staff while at Shenandoah, which included Professor of Music Karen Keating, D.M.A.; former professors Dr. and Mrs. Rohrbacher; Professor of Percussion Earl Yowell, M.M.; and Women’s Head Soccer Coach Liz Pike, who were always pushing her outside her comfort zone.
Sumers’ advice to students is: “The journey to get here may not be one you expected, do it anyway.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations