Shelly is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and a Research Fellow at the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative. Her dissertation, examining workplaces commitments in flexible capitalism, will be completed in 2018. Shelly has been a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and a Kinder Scholar at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston, Texas. At Berkeley, she has been involved with the Graduate Assessment Fellows Program and taught advanced methods workshops at the D-Lab.

She completed undergraduate studies at Harvard College in 2008, where she graduated with highest honors in sociology. She is a Teach for America alum, having taught middle school science on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota before Berkeley. Outside of academia, she works with children's grief support programming and is on the advisory board of Courageous Kids, a grief support program in Eugene, Oregon. She's also an accordion player, triathlete, and lifelong Oregon Ducks fan.