Catching Up with History Alumna

We recently reached out to Sarah Straub to see what she’s been up to since graduating in 2008:

At the end each day, my roommate and I would walk along the Battery (I lived on Wentworth so it wasn’t too much of a hike).  I thought to myself how lucky I was to live there.  I was lucky not only because of the amazing weather and the history of Charleston, but also that I got to experience college through the lens of a DI student-athlete on the soccer team as well as a triple major with incredible professors.  Trust me, I’m as big of a dork as I sound.

I started at CofC in the Honor’s College as a history major and quickly decided to add Spanish as a second major after traveling abroad to Trujillo, Spain.  Traveling abroad changed my life – it started me on the path to fluency in two languages and instilled in me the love for international travel.  It pushed me out of my comfort zone, eventually leading me to declare a third major – political science.  This major led to study abroad again.  This time, I visited Tangier, Morocco and took courses in political science and Arabic language.

When first visiting CofC, what most struck me was the architecture.  History had always been my favorite subject and I was looking forward to getting to “live in” a moment.  I was even lucky enough to work for the American Theater – as seen in The Notebook – and meet the huge dogs from The Patriot.

Dr. Amy McCandless and Dr. Jason Coy both had a tremendous impact on my time at CofC (whether they realized it or not).  Dr. McCandless guided me through independent studies and my eventual honor’s thesis entitled The Waning Tide of Imperialism: The Falkland War as a Microcosm of a Changing International Policy.  She showed me that my learning could be interdisciplinary and that, with enough structure and preparation – and time – that I could complete a 50 page paper!  She even recommended it for publication in Chrestomathy after I graduated.

It was also a privilege to take Dr. Jason Coy’s special topics course.  In a small group setting, we explored the history of witchcraft around the world and I even needed to find someone who spoke Icelandic to help me with my own exploration of a primary source text.  It was also my only B in college… thanks Dr. Coy!

After graduating, I received a Foreign Language Area Studies scholarship and was accepted to the TransAtlantic Masters Program through UNC Chapel Hill.  The best part about this program is that I could utilize all of the skills I had learned through my undergraduate education.  I got to walk the streets of Prague while I attended Universitat Karlova for a semester and travel around Spain – again – while attending Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid.  I studied the impact of Ecuadorian migration on the Spanish welfare system and further developed my bilingual skills.

My experiences in Prague and Madrid with the Roma population led me to education.  I saw the devastating effects of discriminatory policy for Roma children and decided that I would try to learn more about America’s own education system.  After earning my masters in political science, I moved to Houston, Texas where I have been teaching for the past nine years.  While teaching at an urban Title-1 school, I realized how much I still needed to learn in order to be the best that I could be for my students.  I enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Houston and earned my degree in Social Justice Education with a focus on culturally responsive pedagogy last December.

Next year, I am looking forward to returning to university – this time as a full time professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.  Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *