📷: eric francis photography

Chasing lofty goals. Always focusing on the finish, even in the face of incredible odds.

Our community is filled with people who embody that “We Don’t Coast”-mindset – none more than Shannon Haines, M.D., and her 12-year-old daughter, Kaylee. A mother at 17, Shannon refused to let her dream of becoming a doctor fade. She juggled the demanding roles of parent and student, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2013. A year later, backed by her degree in biotechnology, the single mom of an elementary-schooler began tackling medical school.

“I owed it to my daughter and to other teen parents in my situation,” she says. “I owed it to them to keep going and be a role model.”

Over the years, daughter Kaylee did her part, serving as her mom’s study partner, dealing with endless piles of flashcards and tagging along at study sessions and medical events. (Shannon jokes that Kaylee deserves her own biotechnology degree.) Chasing lofty goals. Always focusing on the finish. Shannon graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine in May and began her residency in pediatrics at UNMC two months later.

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“This is a very family friendly city, and my daughter is getting a great education.”

For other young parents with bold dreams, she offers this advice:

  • Set realistic expectations. “It might take you an extra year or two to get your dreams accomplished.”
  • Don’t be afraid to look for or ask for help — especially single parents. “We’re not good at asking for help.”
  • Don’t give up. “Eventually you’ll be able to get there. … It’s possible to achieve your dreams.”

In other words, no coasting allowed.

Excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast, 2018 edition  – a Greater Omaha Chamber publication celebrating the 30+ communities that make Omaha – Greater Omaha. Created and produced by the Omaha World-Herald.

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