TAMS Alumna Covers Politics

Written by: 
Sarah Guenther

Shawna Thomas ('99 TAMS) (Photo by Olivia Petersen)Shawna Thomas ('99 TAMS) had a lot of interests when she was growing up. She played cello for the Houston Youth Symphony Orchestra, participated in Girl Scouts, and attended math and science camps.

But politics also appealed to her, and Thomas says she "always had an interest in news," which served her well in her job as senior producer and senior digital editor for Meet the Press, NBC's long-running Sunday morning public affairs show. With one Emmy and several nominations under her belt, the journalist managed the day-to-day assignments for the broadcast itself, including coordinating interviews, producing and writing. She recently accepted a job with Vice News as Washington, D.C., bureau chief.

Thomas attended a performing arts high school in Houston before entering the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a two-year residential program for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit while taking classes at UNT. She says she met some of her closest friends at TAMS.

"The school is good at bringing people together and giving them a challenging education," Thomas says. "I came out of the TAMS program with a better sense of self."

She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in political communication from George Washington University and a master's in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California. She worked for NBC for almost 10 years, starting out as an assignment editor and associate producer, and going on to cover the White House before joining Meet the Press. She says it was a challenge to produce a once-a-week show in a 24/7 news world, especially in election years.

"What we thought we wanted to do with the show on a Wednesday could very well not be relevant on a Saturday night or Sunday morning," she says.

In her new job, she hopes to "push the envelope when it comes to how we tell politics and policy stories."

"I like to be challenged," she says, "and I like new and exciting opportunities."