Sara completed her bachelor's degree from Penn State University in Biotechnology with a minor in Microbiology. During this time, her love of science, especially applied science, was ignited. She studied Genetically Modified cacao (chocolate) trees which were designed to be more resistant to a common infection that kills the trees, hurts the farmers' business, and reduces the availability of chocolate. Sara loved how her research had a direct impact and helped not only the cacao farmers but also the public in terms of their access to chocolate!
Next, Sara went to graduate school at Cornell University and earned her Ph.D. in Food Microbiology with an emphases in Food Safety and Education. Her doctoral research was focused on how the food borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes attaches to plants and animals and its gene expression patterns. This work further cemented her love of applied research and public health.
She was next awarded a USDA post-doctoral research fellowship to study another foodborne pathogen, Salmonella, this time in poultry. For this project, she moved to Arkansas, one of the U.S.'s leading poultry producing states. Though she loved conducting research and truly enjoyed learning about the poultry industry, she also loved teaching! So while Sara was working as a research scientist at the University of Arkansas, she started teaching night classes at a local community college.
Fast forward, she was most recently a faculty member at Penn State for several years before joining the team at Bay Path and The American Women's College. She loves her current job promoting math and science education for women and increasing access by developing online courses and degrees!