Graduate Student Spotlight: Sarah Powell

sarahpowellWhere are you working right now?
I serve as a graduate assistant for Becker College in the Office of Residence Life and Student Conduct. I generally provide assistance in RA training and recruitment, as well as student housing and other operations and events that take place throughout the year.

What do you love about working there?
Coming from Westfield State University where there were over 5,000 undergraduate students, where Becker has a little over 2,000 students, so it becomes a more personal experience. Everyone knows your name and you’re able to create better relationships with the students, which is key working in Residence Life.
The staff has also been a great time to work with. Working together, we’ve become a pretty close knit group and it is just overall a more enjoyable time to do our jobs.

When you aren’t working, how do you spend your free time?
When I’m not working at Becker, I like to try and stay active so I work as a parking valet. When I’m not doing that, I enjoy to go out to the movies, hiking, listening to music, and just started to get into cooking more.

What is your favorite grad school class and why?
Last semester I had the opportunity to take an ethics class at Westfield State and it was the most intriguing class I’ve taken yet. Ethics is surprisingly something that surrounds us in whatever line of work you are in. Being able to look deeper into the subject and how important it is, this is something I plan on taking into my career in Higher Education.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?
During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to work for Dr. Laurie Simpson, the Director of Academic Advising at my institution. I began as a peer advisor for three years, and in my last semester she offered me the opportunity to be a graduate assistant in her office. Throughout the years she has mentored me to prosper and grow as a professional and individual. It was at that time I realized she was my role model and I inspired be someone like her. My interest for Higher Education took off once I had the chance to have a more professional and more involved role working with the students.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?
Working in Higher Education, it has taught me that it is okay to ask questions. What I’ve learned so far is that there are things you’re not going to know the answer to and that’s okay, but asking questions is very helpful. People in this type of work are always open to providing you with the resources and tools to make sure you are learning something everyday.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?
It has always been a major career goal for me to become a department director for a higher educational institution. I long to be able to have the opportunity to overlook and to represent a department, especially in Residence Life.

What advice would you offer to undergraduate seniors who are staring to search for grad programs?
Choosing to attend graduate school is a more than rewarding opportunity. I would highly suggest for anyone to search for a graduate assistantship. These programs are great in giving you the chance to be able to attend graduate school, and gain professional experience as well.

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