Sara leads CCFW’s partnerships, training, research, and program development for Be REAL. Prior to joining CCFW, Sara spent over 8 years working as an academic advisor in various settings, including supporting high school students pursuing Running Start at the community college, a cohort program that supported first and second year pre-engineering college students from low-income, first generation and underserved backgrounds, and students studying in STEM majors. Before her work as an academic advisor, Sara was the national coordinator of Irish Immigration Centers in the U.S. and did LGBTQI+ advocacy and program development for youth in Ireland. Sara’s work included creating an anti-homophobic bullying program, developing and delivering a self-esteem intervention, and developing a “whole-school” approach to promoting youth mental health. Through all of these roles, Sara consistently volunteered with organizations addressing mental health and well-being of youth, serving in refugee programs, crisis centers, and other organizations working with underserved populations.
Sara holds a BA in Sociology from Pacific Lutheran University, a Diploma in Community Development Practice and a Master of Arts in Health Promotion from the University of Galway (formerly the National University of Ireland, Galway). Sara’s graduate studies focused on determinants of health, evaluation of health promotion programs, promoting mental health and well-being and supportive environments for health. Sara’s dissertation titled “Wellness through a lens – a study on the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender young people using photovoice” was published in the National Institute of Health Sciences (2011).