Faces of ACC: Shelby O’Brien


Shelby O’Brien at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado

Dalton Giesick, Reporter

Shelby O’Brien is an aspiring journalist and a neighborly student within Arapahoe Community College’s Littleton campus. 

O’Brien’s parents adopted her from China when she was nine months old, then began her life in Colorado. While O’Brien says she lived most of her life in Highlands Ranch, she spent two years in Florida, where more family lives, before moving back to Colorado. She missed certain aspects of Florida, such as the ocean and beach but loves the Colorado mountains.

“We moved back to Colorado because we loved the state, and actually, my parents met in Breckenridge, so this is home,” O’Brien said. 

O’Brien makes Highlands Ranch her home in many ways. With her love of the mountains and passion for hiking, she travels to Steamboat Springs to take advantage of the scenery. The mountains give her parents a chance to show their daughter their unique spots growing up in the Colorado mountain town. Aside from her love of the mountains, O’Brien shares her love of reading, being a ballet dancer and foodie, and helping with the Arapahoe Pinnacle, ACC’s online student newspaper. 

Like many students, O’Brien struggled with her future. She graduated from high school in May 2020 and took a gap year and a half, not knowing what she wanted to do with her life. O’Brien thought she would work towards a degree in graphic design and communications.

While she did not follow her original path choice, she started ACC this past spring, 2022, as a student, working towards an Associate Degree in Journalism. She not only changed her degree path but also doubted herself, not knowing if she could become a journalist.

Ultimately, O’Brien will graduate from ACC next May and continue her journalism career by transferring to a four-year university to get her B.A. in Journalism. “I want to go somewhere on the east coast, hopefully, North East, like Boston or New York City,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien states she is looking forward to her future career as a journalist somewhere in the Northeast, with her end goal being a reporter or news anchor for a TV station. She also aspires to be an editor or editor-in-chief. “Is that reaching a little high?” asked O’Brien. For now, she will continue to juggle her college life and aspirations.

When asked what the top three things on her bucket list are, O’Brien says, “the top three things include studying abroad in Paris, skydiving, and seeing the Aurora Borealis.”

O’Brien concludes, “I love that with journalism, you do not just have to be a good writer. You must know about math and society, which incorporates everything I am not terrible at.”