After graduating in 2015 with a degree in psychology, Sarah Peterson continued her education at the University of Kentucky. In 2017, she received her master’s degree in clinical psychology and later in 2022, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. During her time in Kentucky, she also worked as a therapist at Jesse G. Harris Psychological Center. Currently, Sarah is a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Sarah expresses her gratitude for her time at Hope College, “For me, it [Hope] was the perfect size to feel comfortable enough to take risks and challenge myself. I was able to be involved in so many academic and extracurricular activities that I don’t think would have felt accessible at a larger institution.” Sarah has used her liberal arts experience as a foundation for her work as a postdoctoral research fellow.
What was an impactful experience you had as a Hope student?
I had countless impactful experiences as a student at Hope, but one that sticks out in memory was taking Research Methods with Dr. John Shaughnessy. He really encouraged me throughout that course and suggested that I try an Advanced Research Methods course to learn more about the ins and outs of psychological research. This set me up for the path to graduate school, which led me to my current career path today.
To you, what makes Hope special?
Hope is such a unique institution. For me, it was the perfect size to feel comfortable enough to take risks and challenge myself. I was able to be involved in so many academic and extracurricular activities that I don’t think would have felt accessible at a larger institution. I felt connected to my professors and my peers.
What is your current job title?
I am a postdoctoral research fellow. My current work involves disseminating evidence from a large-scale NIH-funded research grant that investigated the development of high-risk drinking behaviors over time and their event-level risk factors and consequences. My work involves scientific literature reviews, conceptualization and writing of scientific manuscripts and grants, data analysis, and presentation at scientific conferences.
What do you love about your chosen career?
I love that I have the opportunity to continue to learn new things and then communicate what I have learned to others. There is so much information in today’s world, it can be hard to digest. Anything I can do to help contextualize and make sense of seemingly conflicting pieces of information is really rewarding.
What advice would you give to a current Hope student?
Get involved in as many things as possible, academically and otherwise! College is the last chance for a lot of these opportunities, and you never know where they will take you or who they will introduce you to.
Hope College is proud to honor Sarah Peterson ’15 with the 2023 10 Under 10 Award. The 10 Under 10 Award honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaging in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and using their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity. Award recipients also communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, these awards are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today