Alumni Spotlight: Sara Stasko
The Patton College is proud to feature Sara Stasko as May’s Alum of the Month. Sara is from Kenton, Ohio, and earned a BA in Political Science from Marietta College in 2012 and obtained a M.Ed. from Ohio University in 2014. Sara began her career in higher education as an academic advisor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. While in Tennessee, she worked extensively with pre-health students on identifying their fit within healthcare, maximizing their undergraduate experiences, and producing competitive applications for future endeavors.
Sara transitioned to Denison and the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration in 2016 and now serves as the Senior Associate Director for Graduate School & Pre-Health Advising. In this role, Sara focuses on coaching students interested in healthcare and graduate school in order to best assist students in pursuing meaningful and successful futures. She is also the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding New Advising Award.
We asked Sara a few questions about her career, and time at Ohio University and the Patton College of Education.
Why did you choose Ohio University’s Patton College for your program?
As I was looking into graduate schools, I knew I wanted a program that had an emphasis on practical experience. OU’s program provided me with an assistantship plus the practicum components, which I knew would enable me to translate what I was learning in the classroom into the application.
Provide a brief summary of your career/opportunities since graduation:
My first job upon graduation was at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where I worked in their Arts and Sciences Department as an Academic Advisor and First-Year Experience Instructor. I moved back to Ohio in 2016 to work at Denison University as an Assistant Director for STEM & Pre-Health within career services. My role has shifted through time at Denison, and after two promotions I am now the Senior Associate Director for Graduate School and Pre-health Advising within the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration.
How did OHIO and the Patton College prepare you for your career/next steps in your education?
My assistantship at the Allen Student Advising Center prepared me in so many ways for a full-time job in higher education. I learned how to navigate difficult conversations with students, design and assess programming, and handle feedback well. I enjoyed that everything I learned within the classroom felt so relevant and easy to apply to what I was seeing as I worked with my students.
What inspired you most during your time at OHIO?
The support and mentorship of faculty and staff at OU always stood out to me. There were so many people who took an interest in developing me as a person and professional, and I will always be grateful for that.
What is your favorite place on or off-campus?
Donkey Coffee: many hours were spent studying, avoiding studying, and drinking copious amounts of caffeine!
What tips/advice would you give to people who are considering studying your program at OHIO?
Take advantage of every aspect of the program: get to know your faculty, take an interesting elective, and try a practicum experience you wouldn’t originally have selected. There are so many roles in higher education to explore, so don’t just stick to what you think you will want! I started out wanting to work in Greek life and discovered my love for the academic side of the house instead.
Describe Ohio University in 5 words:
creative, bustling, caring, eccentric, versatile