For Sara Louie, what happens in the classroom doesn’t just stay in the classroom. Sara developed and brought the very first Splash! event to Macaulay Honors College this past year harnessing the love of learning that’s part of Macaulay and sharing it with others. Splash! is a sixty-year old academic outreach program by universities that invites high school students to attend classes created and taught by students, alumni, and local community members. Sara rounded up 40 Macaulay students to teach 70 students from 18 different high schools the best of what they’ve learned at CUNY—from Fanfiction to Contextualizing Horror Films to an Introduction to Creative Writing.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but Splash! brought together everything I love about Macaulay and let me put the skills I’ve gained over the past four years to use. It was exciting to have so many passionate Macaulay students in one place and to see how high schoolers challenged themselves to attend specific, intensive classes. I challenged myself to design a team that reflected the best pieces of leadership I’ve learned over the past few years and used my experience in event planning.”
Even as Sara has eagerly organized events and shared her learning with others, she also has pursued her interest in saving the environment. She is majoring in Sustainability Development and studied abroad to learn more about the global approach to these issues in Costa Rica, as well as in Israel. Both countries offered a contrast in how to approach these challenges.
“I was able to contrast how a developing country in the tropics tackled sustainability issues compared to a more developed country in the Mediterranean. I loved that for each program, I really got to not only learn in the classroom, but travel into the country to see the policies and programs in practice.”
College education goes back several generations in Sara’s family, who arrived in the U.S. from China and Taiwan. One of her grandmothers went to Cornell for Biology and one of her grandfathers got his PhD from the University of Michigan in Mechanical Engineering. Both her parents graduated from Columbia University and now work in IT. Sara attended The High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at CCNY, and continued at Macaulay, also on City’s campus.
“I love New York and knew the places I was interested in interning at were here, but that said, going to college on the same campus as high school and in the same city – it was important for me to be able to travel. I also knew I enjoyed a small school community (including classes!) and a supportive environment. I liked that Macaulay provided that community, but still let me be part of the bigger CUNY system.”
Sara was a member of Macaulay’s Scholars Council and served as its president and vice president for community service. She has also been active in Circle K, a global network of community service oriented college students. While at Macaulay, Sara also served on the search committee for the new Dean. After graduation, she will be in a fellowship program at Newman’s Own Foundation in a program designed to build leaders within non-profits; the program also will provide personal mentoring and training opportunities. Sara is ready to follow wherever her passion takes her.
“I think what I’ve learned the most in college is that there are a lot of opportunities out there and it’s about finding the opportunity that works best for you at a given time.”