By GABI BOURN
From the courtroom to the classroom, professor Anna Shaheen has been general counsel to high-profile athletes, including Roger Clemens, for the last twenty-six years and is now continuing to fulfill her dreams by teaching at the University.
Shaheen, adjunct professor in accounting, began working at the University in January, following a two-year break from teaching.
Shaheen’s life has been full of challenges and opportunities that have led her to fulfill her dream of making an impact on students’ lives. She emigrated from Lebanon to the United States at the age of four and eventually became a certified public accountant who represents professional athletes in legal matters.
“I have been very blessed in my life with my family and education, so I believe in giving back,” Shaheen said. “That is really my passion for teaching.”
Her childhood dream was to be the people’s lawyer by helping the less fortunate, but she did not see this dream fulfilled until many years later.
After growing up in Virginia, Shaheen came to Texas to attend the University of Texas, but soon withdrew from classes to marry and start a family.
Eventually, she resumed her classes and received an associate’s degree in general studies with honors from North Harris Community College in 1983, a Bachelor of Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Sam Houston State University in 1986 and a Ph.D. in jurisprudence from the University of Houston in 1999.
She not only uses her many degrees to teach but also serves as general counsel for the Roger Clemens Foundation and regularly volunteers for various organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston and M.D. Anderson.
Though Shaheen works at the University, she remains a consultant for Hendricks Sports Management, where she works with professional athletes to help them manage money and the transition into retirement.
into retirement. She brings real-world experience to the University in both accounting and litigation. Her work, volunteer and general life experiences are already proving to be a valuable asset, since she brings new ideas to University students.
Shaheen said she hopes Volunteer Income Tax Assistance will become an initiative that is an integral part of the University. VITA offers tax assistance to the elderly, people with lower income and international students.
To promote this goal, she gives her students the opportunity to substitute a major grade by volunteering at a neighborhood VITA center. This provides an opportunity for students to help their community, network and prepare to become certified public accountants. Shahanaz Dossani is a senior accounting major who is a part of the School of Business delegates and one of Shaheen’s students.
She said that Shaheen’s creativity and passion in the classroom make her a valuable asset to the University, and she plans to take advantage of the VITA service activity.
“I am so excited about this new form of community service,” Dossani said. “I feel like it will teach me more about tax, as well as help me network with other students and/or other professionals in the field of accounting.”
Dr. Melissa Wiseman, chair of the department of accounting, economics and finance, said that Shaheen is helping the University fulfill one of the missions of the Ten Pillars vision by helping the community.
“It is very unusual for an adjunct to go beyond what just occurs in the classroom to make an impact in the community,” Wiseman said. “This is an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Shaheen said she believes that education is imperative and makes it a goal to teach students problem resolution.
“For every problem there is a solution,” Shaheen said. “It may not be an easy solution, but it is important to recognize the problem.”
While Shaheen could get swept up in her busy schedule of work and activities, she carefully manages her free time.
She enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her grandsons any chance she gets. However, amidst her busy schedule, she remains grounded in her faith and focuses on helping other people.
“I want to touch the lives of our future generation one child at a time,” Shaheen said.