Celebrating our 2023 Graduates

University College Helps Student Discover Passion for Community Engagement

By Melanie Thibeault
Sarah Murray

Sarah Murray ’23, who majored in Healthcare Administration with dual minors in Public Administration and Community Development through University College, has started a new position as a business planning analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.  

Flexible, Online Courses: “Roger Williams University’s online courses made it possible for me to meet my goals and show my children that college is an option at any age. As a full-time employee and mother of two busy teenagers, the flexibility that’s built into the program is amazing. I was able to take all my courses online and asynchronously. When RWU began offering the option for eight-week courses, this allowed me to take three courses per semester, which fast-tracked what I was able to do.”  

Benefits of Prior Learning: “The Prior Learning Assessment Program was huge. Going in, I didn’t think my prior learning meant anything. I was able to transfer a ton of classes from when I started college in the mid-1990s. In August 2022, I was accepted into the Women's Policy Institute, a professional development and mentoring program designed to develop policy, advocacy and strategic communications skills among women who are interested in influencing the policymaking process. When it came time to register for spring 2023 courses, I reached out to Tracey Pratt to see if the education and life skills I was earning through WPI could be considered for course credit. My experience was reviewed and approved for the final fifteen credits. I was overjoyed I could walk this May.”  

Inspiring Professors: “One professor was instrumental: Mary Lynch. I exhausted the number of community development courses I could take with her. The classes I took opened my eyes that you could lobby for good. It really cemented the idea that community development starts with talking with the community. I really like the idea of working in community engagement. I’m drawn toward women’s issues in particular. This is a long-term goal that I wouldn’t have considered if I hadn’t gone to school.”   

Murray is from Millbury, Mass.  

Every spring, as Commencement nears, RWU spotlights members of the graduating class. Suggestions are welcome. Email: stories@rwu.edu 

Celebrating our 2023 Graduates