Meet McNair Scholar Sarah Gormady
Many college students might say that they have a busy life but few are as busy as Sarah Gormady. As a single mother and first generation college student Sarah realized early that she would need to find ways to stand out in order to accomplish her lofty goal of studying in Russia on a Fulbright grant. Sarah explains her drive to excel in academics as a quest to understand the world around her. "Identity, privilege, perceptions and power are all interrelated and play a role in people's everyday lives. I wanted to know why certain people were able to exert power over others and also why this was acceptable. I just had a lot of questions. Now I just have more." Sarah was originally referred to the McNair program by one of her Professors. "I enjoy independent research more than any of my classes... so applying to McNair seemed like a logical thing to do. I am fortunate that McNair educated me so well on the ins and outs of academia or I would still be floundering around campus ... People should join McNair not only for their future, but their family's future. First generation college students are at such a disadvantage compared to the class of students that were raised in families that know how to manage the system. Think to the future for yourself and for your offspring. It is much easier to teach someone to navigate the trials of higher education if you yourself have been guided as well."
In the summer of 2008 Sarah went abroad on an International Research Opportunity Program (IROP) grant through the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. The intent of her project was to analyze the effect of Soviet socialization programs on minority women, by collecting full life biographies of Jewish women who were subject to Soviet socialization. Through consideration of the women's perceptions of nationality, ethnicity, and gender identity, as well as discrimination, the effectiveness of the Soviet programs will be assessed. Sarah will present the results of her study at the university's Undergraduate Research Conference in 2009.