Shannaya is the daughter of Deborah and Peter McFarland. She attended Urbana High School and was  a member of the Student Senate, the Prom Committee, French National Honor Society, French Club, and the basketball team. Shannaya  attended Indiana University majoring in Sports Marketing & Management and minoring in Finance with a concentration in Pre-Law. She was a member of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church where she was active in Sunday school and the Baptist Youth Fellowship. She has received Academic Monograms for her scholastic achievement, and was first Vice President for State Youth & College Division of the NAACP. Shannaya was elected speaker of the House of Representatives at Girls' State, and voted most improved player on her basketball team. She was an employee of First Federal Savings and Loan. Her escort was Karlos Winston. Shannaya was presented by her father, Peter and received by her mother, Deborah.

Source: 27th Annual Cotillion Ball (1999)