Trinity first-generation student-athlete overcomes family tragedy and lands job with Dell
by Nicolette Good '07
Starjjil Renale Shelvin ’19 goes by “Star” around Trinity’s campus—a stand-out name, fitting for a stand-out senior. Hit by family tragedy as a teen, the student-athlete leaned on his ambition, work ethic, and drive toward excellence to make it through. Because of that determination, not only will Shelvin earn his bachelor’s degree from Trinity this May, he’s also walking into a job at Dell headquarters.
When he was just 15 years old, Shelvin unexpectedly lost his father to pneumonia. The tragedy set him, his mother, and his two older siblings on a difficult path.
“It took a big toll on me and my family,” says Shelvin, from Katy, Texas, about his father’s passing.
Shelvin’s father was the family’s sole provider, and the abrupt financial instability and housing insecurity necessitated his family split up to stay afloat. Shelvin moved in with another family to finish his high school diploma. To help make ends meet, he took on whatever retail and service jobs he could while attending Morton Ranch High School, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and lettering in football and wrestling.
“I kept pushing through—I wanted to do whatever I could and make my dad proud,” says Shelvin.
That grit and perseverance was apparent when Trinity head football coach Jerheme Urban visited Shelvin’s high school on a recruiting visit.
Shelvin’s academic and athletic performance made him an attractive recruit to many colleges: His perfect GPA was coupled with four years of playing center on the football team and finishing second in his weight class in wrestling at the 2015 state championships. But Shelvin knew at Trinity he’d get a stellar education and could pursue engineering science, while still playing really great football. Shelvin is a defensive tackle on Trinity’s team.
Still, stepping foot onto a university campus was not going to be a breeze.
“Being a first-generation student, this is all new. To be honest, it’s kind of scary. You can’t go ask your mom, or your dad, or your grandpa—they haven’t done it before,” says Shelvin.
In February 2018, Shelvin attended a career fair on campus armed with a handful of resumes, thinking he might hand them out to engineering firms. That’s why he initially passed by a table for Dell, the multinational computer company.
"I passed up the Dell Technologies table at first, thinking it was all computer science-specific, but that’s not the case,” he says. “There are so many areas you can delve into.”
One of the individuals at Dell’s table that day was Mike Owens, the vice president of digital transformation for Dell’s global operations team.
As an engineering science major, Shelvin was not an obvious recruit for Dell’s supply chain organization. Supply chain new hires at the multinational computer technology company tend to study business, supply chain, analytics, or related subjects.
What he did have, though, was integrity, drive, and the ability to get results. Owens recognized this in Shelvin and invited him to participate in a summer internship in 2018, where, of course, his star shone brightly. So bright, in fact, Owens decided to offer Shelvin a full-time job. He surprised Shelvin in front of his football teammates with the good news.
Shelvin will join Dell as a sustainable sourcing lead following commencement in May 2019. When asked what excites him most about his upcoming prospects, Shelvin continues to dream big.
“I want to make history in my family,” he says.
Nicolette Good graduated from Trinity University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and music.