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About Alison


Shannon Lucile Martin was born Dec. 30, 1977, in Topeka, Kansas. She graduated in 1996 from Shawnee Heights High School, where she was an honor student and on the student council. After high school she went on to attend the University of Kansas. 


In 2000, Shannon did a study abroad program in Golfito, Costa Rica. She returned to Golfito in May of 2001 on a scholarship she had received from KU to collect additional plant samples to finish her study on the photosynthesis pathway in ancient, epiphtytic ferns found in the rainforests of Costa Rica. 


Shannon Lucille Martin was murdered May 13, 2001, in Golfito, Costa Rica at the age of 23. 

She was to graduate with honors upon returning from Costa Rica from the University of Kansas, with a bachelor’s degree in biodiversity, ecology and evolutionary biology.  Shannon was a beloved daughter, sister and friend and is missed dearly. 

More about Shannon…

Shannon always loved to travel and was very interested in learning about new cultures, customs, landscapes, and foods. When she went to Golfito, Costa Rica to study abroad, there was so much for her to learn and discover.

Shannon was a vegetarian from the time she was eleven because of her commitment to animal rights. Since Golfito is rich with mangoes, papayas, pineapples, bananas, tamarindo and other tropical fruit, along with the standard beans and rice, Shannon found herself to be a perfect match with the Golfiteño diet.

Shannon loved nature. From the time she could crawl, she wanted to be outside exploring. It was difficult to get Shannon to come in the house in the evenings because she wanted to run, climb and touch everything in her environment. Golfito became Shannon’s new and larger backyard.

Shannon was very family oriented. In Golfito, the families are close knit and spend much of their time together. Shannon liked the quaint community of Golfito where the spirit was friendly and people knew one another.

Shannon cherished all her friends, old and new alike. She made a point of sharing her life with her friends. Even though Shannon took a full schedule in college and worked, she coordinated dinner parties and gatherings to be with her family and friends.

Shannon loved to walk and ride her bike. In college, she took every opportunity to bike, walk, or use public transportation. Everyone walks in Golfito, so Shannon found yet another kindred quality in this town.

Shannon wanted to make a difference in the world. She studied hard and was determined to contribute in a positive way. She discovered epiphytic ferns in the tropical forests, which are normally found in arid climates. She believed this new knowledge would help scientists better understand the evolution of the photosynthesis in epiphytic ferns, and she had hoped it might lead to a larger biological lesson.

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