Sally Clark: Outstanding Graduating Student

Sally Clark, of Hudson, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Division of Lifelong Learning. 

Clark is majoring in university studies with leadership studies track, and a minor in Maine studies. She was born and raised in Lincoln, Maine. 

Cite your top three academic scholarships, achievements and awards:
Instrumental in creating a gender-neutral living community, Prism+, in our residence halls. In addition, I worked full-time with a family of four and took classes each spring, summer and fall since 2015 to achieve my goal of earning my bachelor’s degree.

Tell us about the research, internships or scholarly pursuits you were involved in as a student:
I immersed myself in a myriad of education experiences during the pursuit of my bachelor’s degree, ranging from astronomy and weather to political science and journalism. I was particularly interested in subjects pertaining to the State of Maine, which earned me a minor in that subject. As stated above, I was instrumental in the creation of the Prism+ community within our residence halls. This is a safe environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to live and thrive in a welcoming environment.

Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupied your time?
I am an avid bird watcher and nature lover. I live by a beautiful little lake, and I thrive on the natural beauty that surrounds us. Most of my free time is spent in nature and with friends around a fire. My two girls are grown now, but when they were growing up, I was their Girl Scout leader and was a member of the Central High School Athletic Boosters. I was very busy with their sports and my oldest daughter’s violin lessons. It was after they both graduated and I had extra time on my hands that I decided to pursue my own education again.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on continuing to serve the students of UMaine through Housing and Dining Services and continue to grow as a person and a staff member here. I hope to someday become a director and further my leadership skills.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
Working at UMaine has enabled me to complete my bachelor’s degree without worrying about going further into debt. The two classes that are allowed each semester for staff allowed me to further my education while still maintaining full-time employment. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
Most definitely, the thing that has helped me change and see the world around me differently is being involved in the University of Maine Diversity Leadership Institute. This program has opened my eyes to my own implicit biases and enabled me to view the world and people around me with a more empathetic, understanding view.

Why UMaine?
I had always wanted to work at UMaine. The community, the students, the campus, the people who work here are all committed to the betterment of our society and our environment. UMaine has opened many doors for me in my 13+ years working here, and I hope to remain until I retire.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine? Is there any particular initiative, program or set of resources that helped you succeed?
I just think the faculty and staff really care. I know I care. I see the effort in the retention and success of our students, and I am very proud to be a small part of that team.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
Barbara Howard, my adviser, was a constant cheerleader for me. Her guidance and encouragement were a tremendous help in my journey. In addition, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the support and encouragement from my supervisor, Jennifer Perry, and my department heads in Auxiliary Services, Dick Young and Dan Sturrup. Without their support, it would have been very difficult to juggle my full-time job and two classes a semester. I will be always thankful for their trust in me and their never-ending support.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically?
Just take one semester at a time. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, and hone up your time management skills. Even if you are a scared 48-year-old walking into a classroom full of 18–21 year olds, hold your head up high and know that you have something to contribute, too. I am very proud of earning my bachelor’s degree at the age of 53. It shows that it’s never too late.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745