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Discovering Her Passion Through Service

While completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Sarah Barry took a class that exposed her to the realities of unequal funding in education. “It got me really worked up and I wanted to do something about it,” shared Sarah. As she considered her next step after graduation, Sarah began researching AmeriCorps programs in Philadelphia that addressed educational inequities and discovered College Possible.

Sarah served with College Possible for two terms as a tech-connected college coach, helping college students navigate the higher education system and connecting students to available resources on and off campus. As her second term of service came to a close, she realized she still had a lot to learn and decided to pursue a master’s degree in higher education at Temple University with a concentration in access and success.

Commenting on why she chose Temple, Sarah noted, “Temple was really important because after doing service in the city of Philadelphia, I wanted a program that recognized and reflected the experiences of the students I worked with at College Possible.”

As she navigated her master’s program, Sarah began to realize that the robust field experience she had gained while serving with College Possible gave her a unique perspective and passion that set her apart from her peers at Temple. Reflecting on how her term of service shaped her, Sarah said, “It definitely helped me narrow down what I was passionate about and let me dive right into getting experience— something that wouldn’t have been possible just studying education. I got to work in the field and be sure I loved it before committing to a graduate program.”

Currently, Sarah works as an enrollment advisor with Noodle Partners, advising online graduate students for Tulane University’s School of Social Work. Sarah credits her experience serving with College Possible as a major influence on how she supports students in her role today.

“[College Possible influenced] the values that I have now and how much importance I place on putting students as people first. Even though I am not doing direct service and working with a population of low-income students, [my time with College Possible helps me] remember that even though school is a big part of students’ lives, it isn’t the only thing they have going on.”

Interested in pursuing a term of service like Sarah? Apply today at CollegePossible.org/Serve or contact Rosie Adams (RAdams@CollegePossible.org) for more information on how you can impact the Philadelphia community.

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