Shannon McNatt

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE From tumbling passes to quantitative analysis, this U gymnast scores big.

Shannon McNatt is no stranger to rigorous training. The U senior and NCAA regional beam champion gymnast spends more than 20 hours training each week preparing for competition. And her dedication in the gym is paralleled in her coursework. She’s in one of the David S. Eccles School of Business’ most demanding majors, Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations (QAMO), which requires advanced courses in mathematics, statistics, economics, and business.

The QAMO major helps put the Eccles School on level with places such as Berkeley, Columbia, and other top schools from around the country, says Adam Meirowitz, director of the Marriner S. Eccles Institute for Economics and Quantitative Analysis. And in a competitive market, graduates like McNatt—with exhaustive training both in the gym and in the classroom—enter the business world on even better footing. Skills such as time management and teamwork that student-athletes excel at have tremendous value in both the classroom and the workplace, adds Meirowitz.

In addition to a successful gymnastics career, including a 2017 NCAA regional beam win with a 9.9 score, McNatt is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic first-team member, a College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District first-team honoree, and a three-time Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American. She’s currently an intern at the U’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and is exploring career options for utilizing her analytical and leadership skills after she graduates.

“You don’t just go from the floor to the high beam and say, ‘I hope it goes well.’ We have progressions for how we learn skills… and that progression is the same in academics.”



Utah is at the heart of many recent environmental debates, ranging from national parks and water to land use and air quality. These crucial issues can seem impossibly complex, and finding solutions requires collaboration and creativity. Here are just two of many researchers exploring these topics from different perspectives. A cultural perspective: The data is […]

Learn More


Sayro Paw was 12 when she arrived in Utah from the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. She recalls being totally overwhelmed by the language and cultural differences. “I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone,” she says. “I didn’t know anyone at school, and I couldn’t do homework.” Gradually things improved for Paw, especially […]

Learn More


For most people, a doctorate in human genetics isn’t a fallback career. But when Kristi Russell injured her hip as a tennis player at Weber State University, she says the injury changed the course of her education and profession. She asked her doctor, “Why would this happen to someone so young?” The doctor’s response: sports […]

Learn More


Derek Young BS’18 grew up in a town with just nine stoplights. And when he came to study biology at the U, the number of students was more than three times the population of his hometown, Price, Utah. While he was excited to be around other people who were passionate about learning, and he liked […]

Learn More


Whitney Bitner BS’18 started chemotherapy just three days before her senior year at the U. The math and statistics major had been diagnosed with nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma after she noticed a lump on her neck while vacationing with her family at Lake Powell. “It was just like, ‘How can this have happened?’ ” […]

Learn More


Service is in Daniela des Islets’ blood. Her father was an infantry officer in the Honduran military, and she’s been deployed with the U.S. Air Force twice, once in Afghanistan and once in Qatar. And now she’s studying biology, chemistry, and Spanish at the U, with plans to go on to medical school. “I wanted […]

Learn More

Leave a Comment

Comments are moderated, so there may be a slight delay before approved comments are posted. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).