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Behind the Leader: Sarah Carroll

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Sarah Carroll

We caught up with Sarah Carroll ‘18 to talk about the work she does on campus in a leadership capacity. Sarah is a peer advisor in the Advising Resource Center (in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences), and co-manager of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. She was a primary coordinator for the band’s trip to Pasadena, CA in January 2018, where they marched in the Rose Parade for more than 700,000 spectators and 44 million television viewers.

Sarah initially chose the University of Massachusetts because of its band program.

“When I was applying to college, marching band was a requirement for me. I really wanted that opportunity to do it, because band has been a part of my life for so long and it was just really important to me at that time, and I’m really happy that I stuck with that,” she notes.

Sarah is a legal studies major, and began on this pathway with the intention of working in law enforcement.

“When I was applying to colleges my senior year of high school I did the whole Common App thing, and I wanted to be a cop originally. So I put criminal justice down as a major,” she explains.

When UMass Amherst accepted her, Sarah was admitted to the legal studies major, since there is not a specific criminal justice major on campus. During her first legal studies class, she had such a good experience that she knew she was in the right place.

“I didn’t necessarily think I would stay in legal studies when I got accepted, and here I am about to graduate with a degree in it. So it kind of came full circle,” Sarah says. She adds that she feels lucky, as her career trajectory ended up changing over the time she was at UMass.

“If I could wave that magic wand and get that dream job right away after college; I ideally would be doing immigration and refugee reform. Looking at the policy, doing advocacy, maybe resettlement,” she says.

Though Sarah has learned a lot from her classwork, she notes that band has played a big role in expanding her professional skills. She worked on publicity and recruitment, planned events, and managed not only the Rose Parade, but many other band events. Sarah lists Associate Director Thomas Hannum as a key mentor, who worked with her during her time in leadership roles there.

“If it hadn’t been for working with him, I don’t think I would have been at a level of professionalism that I feel I am today. He taught me things like how to write emails that get a point across strongly, and not necessarily come off so hostile. He is a bit of an inspiration to me,” she explains.

Sarah advises students interested in moving into leadership roles on campus to find a club that interests them and work their way upwards from there.

“That’s how things happen. You’re not going to be a leader overnight. No one joins a club, and is the president the next day. You have to see if it’s something you’re truly interested in, and then go from there,” she notes.

“For SBS students, if you’re ever in doubt, Thompson 128,” she says, namechecking the location of the Advising Resource Center (the ARC).

“We might not have the answer as peer advisors, but we’ll find somebody who does have an answer for you. We’ll be able to help you out whether that is with leadership or anything pertaining to academics,” she adds.

“I will reinforce Thompson 128 all I can. I say it in the class where I’m teaching assistant, every single class,” she concludes.