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Meet a Badger: Shayne McCartney ’95

Shayne with Bucky

1. What is your hometown?
I was raised in my hometown of Mukwonago, WI.

2. Which years did you attend UW?
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1991 to 1995.

3. What was your major and what degree did you obtain?
I was a Consumer Science major and earned my Bachelor of Science degree.

4. Describe your current job and career path?
I’ve enjoyed a 20+ year career at UnitedHealth Group. I am currently a Senior Marketing Director for OptumRx, a Pharmacy Care Services company. In my role I lead a team focused on helping grow our business through various sales and prospecting efforts, and support our current clients by building messaging, value propositions and communications. It gives me a great sense of pride to be part of the solution that is working to deliver affordable and accessible health care, improve health outcomes for our members and make the health system work better for everyone.

5. What is your favorite Badger memory?
My most fond memory from my four years spent at UW was experiencing the 1993 football season and journey to the 1994 Rose Bowl. It had been 31 years since our last appearance there, so to say it was a big deal would be an understatement. After winning the Big Ten Championship game in Tokyo, my now husband and our friends waited in line overnight at Camp Randall Stadium in the frigid cold temperatures for our ticket vouchers to the bowl game of the century. A few days after Christmas, we made the trek out to California in a two-door, stick shift Ford Tempo with a map (paper!), portable ‘discman’, a bin full of CDs and a single duffel bag per person. Being a part of that historic season and winning the most coveted trophy in all of college football was something I will never forget and will always cherish.

Shayne McCartney ’95 in a Football 101 drill

6. How would you describe your education from UW?
I knew I wanted to attend UW-Madison in the fifth grade after a school field trip to the campus and confirmed that thought when I participated in Badger Girls State in high school. Getting to be a Badger was a dream realized. The education I received while there, though challenging at times, provided me with higher learning from amazing professors, the opportunity to collaborate with students from all over the country, and world. It gave me life experiences and opportunities I don’t think I would have found elsewhere, and really taught me to be an advocate for myself and others. It also taught me that sometimes your intended path may take an unexpected turn, and when that happens how to persevere and adjust to reach your goal.

7. What would you tell prospective students?
To those considering UW-Madison as their college choice, I would say, look no further. You will not just get a solid education, you will be challenged, you will gain insights on the world and its diversity. You will feel what it means to be part of a large university, while at the same time feel a sense of community. It’s not a place where you sit back and let the school take care of your education. You must put forth the effort and be engaged throughout the journey. In the end, the rewards are well worth any scars you may experience along the way. You will become a significant member of a family that is so uniquely bound by what it means to be Badger, and will be proud to not only write the words “graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison” on a resume, but to carry that pride with you wherever you go.

8. What is your involvement with the WAA HOI alumni chapter?
Since moving out of Wisconsin some 25 years ago, my husband and I had long felt like we were carrying our WI Badger torch alone on an island of Hawkeyes in Iowa. Finding the WAA HOI Alumni Chapter and being able to connect with fellow Badgers has been an amazing experience. I really enjoy participating in their events, being an active chapter member, and being with others who share our passion of showing Badger pride.

9. What is a fun fact which people may not know about you?
I am a published author! A biographical piece I wrote from a school assignment in junior high was published in 1990 in a writing and learning handbook, Write Source 2000. (p.157) My only other claim to fame would be taking part in a story with CNN back in 1993. They were on the UW campus when Grainger Hall was being built doing a segment on class sizes and the overall effectiveness of learning in a large university setting. I was interviewed on the top of Bascom Hill and their crew followed me around to all my classes that day. In the end, my one-on-one interview was cut, and they only used a video of me in one of my classes with a voice over.

10. Why do you donate to the chapter scholarship fund?
Coming from a single-parent family, needing to apply for grants, scholarships and student loans myself, I understand firsthand the financial pressures of college tuition. I have a profound sense of giving back by being able to donate to the scholarship fund. The impact it can have on a student that has worked hard to be successful is immeasurable.