Shelby (Raper) Kozlowski

Shelby (Raper) Kozlowski

January 5, 2021

Shleby (Raper) Kozlowksi (2020)

Shelby (Raper) Kozlowski is a product manager from Farmington, MO . Originally a biology major, Shelby quickly realized her passion was not in studying cells and plant life, but for studying language and meaning in the Communication Department. Shelby is currently Senior Product Lead for Fleet Technology applications at UniGroup in Fenton, MO. When she’s not working, Shelby enjoys cooking, reading, and hanging out with her husband, Jason, and their two dogs.

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated May of 2014 with a Communication Studies concentration.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

I was involved in Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF) as a student intern and Lambda Pi Eta. My senior year I worked with Upward Bound as an academic tutor. I also participated in Tru-Scholars summer research program.

Shelby (right) hanging with friends in Kirksville (2014).

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

I did not go to grad school! I considered it but after completing my summer research project, realized it wasn’t for me.

What was your first job after graduation?

My first job after college was admissions counseling. I started out as the local admissions representative for Missouri S&T (in the town where I grew up.) Eventually I moved to Saint Louis and served as the regional admissions counselor for the STL Metro.

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

I work for a moving company called UniGroup in the IT Software Development group as a Senior Product Lead. I didn’t even know that my job existed when I was in school and it was an interesting road to get here!

Shelby (center, in yellow) with the UniGroup Product Team (2019).

I joined UniGroup as an analyst and through exposure to other groups and departments, ended up working in our Development group. Product Managers help software development teams prioritize what’s most important as they take in new ideas for software features and new requirements for business needs. I lead two mobile app teams and have to collaboratively work with engineers, designers, and business stakeholders to decide what we work on and communicate new features to our users.

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

I’m regularly communicating to a variety of audiences, whether it’s one on one with my engineers or designer, in stakeholder meetings, to large crowds at product demos or conferences. Each audience has different needs and I am always trying to balance competing interests and perspectives.

Shelby leading an in-person mobile app training session in Indianapolis, IN (2020).

My liberal arts education helped prepare me to work in a cross-discipline environment. The key to working with engineers is in asking good questions, and I definitely learned that at Truman!

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

I’ll be honest—I don’t remember hating any! I know that Persuasion Theory was a class many didn’t like, but I’ve found that understanding persuasion is essential in my role and I certainly gained a lot from that course.

Shelby (R) and her friend Brianna during a CCF Dodgeball Night (2015).

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

I was very involved with CCF and was proud to be part of the Women’s Ministry group there (and was a student intern in that role my senior year!) That year, we pulled off several unique women’s events that helped people feel engaged in the group and contributed to the community.

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

I loved my time at Truman. The student body at large is a really motivated group and it is special to be studying with other students who really care about what they’re learning. I also think the faculty at Truman are unique. They are really dedicated to instruction and always willing to go the extra mile.

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

You should absolutely get involved on campus, whether that’s in a club, working for the newspaper, or whatever. Finding your niche is key to a good college experience.

What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

Definitely look for internships and reach out to professional organizations. There is a Women in Product group in St. Louis, as well as a St. Louis Product Managers organization (PDMA.) Reach out to the professional groups and let them know you’re a student who is interested in learning more and possibly finding an internship. People are really willing to help!

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

I miss the easy access to my friends and small town life. We would always bike around and walk to the town square for the farmer’s market or coffee shop. I definitely miss that casual lifestyle! With my college friends spread all over the country, it’s harder to see all the people I want to see. Cherish that time!

Shelby and her husband, Jason, at their wedding (2016).

What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?

I have NO idea! There’s a reason I didn’t study Public Communication. 

If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?

You know, I can’t say that I feel ready to teach a class. The more I’ve gotten into my career, the more I realize that there’s so much still to learn!

What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?

You can really do anything with a Communication degree, and one way to jumpstart that process is by prioritizing your career development in school. Go to the Career Expo, apply to internships, really try a lot of different career options. I wish I would have sought out an internship outside of my comfort zone working for a big company.

Shelby (left) and friends at graduation (2014).

If you would like to learn more of Shelby’s story, or you want to learn more about the Department of Communication, contact us!