Ready for the World
When alumna Sarah Testa '09 transferred to Saint Mary's during the fall of her sophomore year, she was looking for a school where she would receive individualized attention. She also wanted the opportunity to work closely with faculty, administration, and other students on a personal level. She found that and more at Saint Mary's. "The professors are all amazing, especially those in the history department," says Sarah, who graduated with a degree in history. "The faculty are never afraid to challenge you and I know I have received an excellent education because of them."
The Cleveland native says that she took a "literature of social justice" class with Professor Jeanne Rodes and as a result developed a great relationship with her. "I always [went] to her for her perspective on an issue I might have [had] or a decision I [had] to make. Her insights have been very helpful." She feels the same about history professor Dave Stefancic. "It is always very evident how much he cares about his students."
Sarah is also the founder of the White Rose Society on campus, an organization dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and genocide awareness. "We expanded our mission to focus on all issues of hate-the factors that, if left unaddressed, lead to human rights crises like the Holocaust," says Sarah. "When one group is discriminated against, that opens the door to allow discrimination of all other minority groups. Historically, students have been very vocal regarding human rights issues, which is why I think organizations like the White Rose are important."
In the fall of her senior year, Sarah and other club members distributed over one thousand white roses in remembrance of those who died in the Holocaust. "When I walked through campus and saw hundreds of Saint Mary's women carrying these roses, I became overwhelmed at the sight and thanked God for directing the path that led to my attendance at Saint Mary's." Sarah has also been a resident advisor, a peer minister, and she worked at Campus Ministry's Spiritual Leaders summer camp, which she describes as "one of my most treasured experiences to date."
Sarah says that with her general education classes, she feels that her education was well rounded and full, and that she is prepared for the working world. "I've always known two things about myself—I like to write and I care about people who are oppressed or marginalized. In an ideal career, I would combine both of those things and have a career that is both meaningful and creative."
Sometimes Danielle Taylor got a little tired of answering the question, “So what are you going to do with that history major?” But since graduation, the 2006 Saint Mary’s alumna hasn’t had time to think about why anyone ever wondered. She did an internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and works as a docent at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in the nation’s capital. And she just landed a job as a sales assistant with the New York Times’ Washington D.C. Bureau.
“The history major can lead you to anything, as I’m experiencing right now,” says Danielle. “What I liked most about the major at Saint Mary’s was that it allows you to follow your own passions. They give you a basic understanding of history but also, the flexibility to explore your own interests.”