Shanell Bryan

Graphic Designer and Marketing Manager

The National 9/11 Memorial

New York City


What’s it like to be part of (and create visuals) for an organization that has become such a significant part of our national identity?

As a New Yorker, to work for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a complete honor and humbling experience. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talented and driven individuals who are committed to helping our nation to never forget the events of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It has been awe-inspiring to watch the Memorial and Museum Pavilion come together at the heart of the World Trade Center site. At times it can be creatively and very emotionally challenging. However, each time I hear the many stories of family members on the phone with their loved ones as the towers collapsed, or watch the footage of the planes crashing into the towers, or recall standing on my corner in the city and watching the black cloud of smoke as it filled the space where the towers once stood, it serves as a constant reminder that all that I’m doing is in respect and honor of the nearly 3,000 victims we lost.

How does this job differ from your previous positions?

I don’t think I can truly compare this job to any other. Although, my title might have been the same, the feeling of being a part of something larger than me is something I’ve never had before. I leave every day with the sense of fulfillment and humility, thinking, “this is what ‘work’ is supposed to feel like.”

How can we get involved and support the memorial?

There are plenty of ways for people and organization to get involved. If in the New York City area, there are numerous opportunities to volunteer and join the team dedicated to making a visitor’s experience a meaningful one. The option to be a donor or join the Visionary Circle is also available. Businesses are encouraged to be a part of our Signs of Support program. Or you may text the word “HOPE” to 80088 to support the Memorial with a $10 donation.

You graduated in 2007. How did Susquehanna prepare you for the whirlwind that has been your life since then?

The rigorous schedule and diversity in projects really prepared me for the amount of hard work and dedication that I would have to put in to be successful out here in the real world. To consistently be given new problems with strict deadlines challenged my mind and took my creativity to the next level. The graphic design program at SU gave me the fundamental understanding of critical thinking and problem solving which ultimately afforded me the opportunity to work with established advertising agencies, such as the Ad Council and PHD USA, have my work published in renowned publications and newspapers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as my designs for the September 11 Memorial and Museum being displayed nationwide.

What’s your number one piece of advice for students?

To never give up! Keep evolving and pushing hard in all aspects of your life. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”