By: Rob Beatty ‘21
Alumna Sarah Lopez ‘14 recently became a counselor with Gear Up at Longsjo Middle School in Fitchburg, Mass. This expansive role involves leading college and career readiness workshops, planning educational trips to colleges, working with students one-on-one, and many other jobs that involve working with teachers and parents to aid students and further their education.
Gear Up is a program set to increase the number of low-income students that enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The students that Sarah works with are preparing to enter high school, a vital time in their decision making for further learning. She will work with these students until their high school graduation in 2024 and 2025.
As a geography major at Salem State University, Sarah was able to take a course at Qatar University and was recruited into the Liberian Peacebuilding Field Work Trip. Through these experiences, she saw how geography was taught around the world. This was the initial inspiration to begin her career as an educator.
Only a few months into her new job, Sarah already feels that she has accomplished a lot. With a bilingual background, Sarah can translate parent-teacher meetings to ensure everybody involved is up-to-date and involved in their students’ education.
“It feels great to hear my teachers say that they've seen a difference in how a student is performing in the classroom since being able to communicate to parents. I also love seeing students’ faces light up when they see me, because they know I'm in their corner to help them with a writing assignment, or simply vent when they're having a bad day,” Sarah said.
Sarah believes Salem State, with the courses and mentors it provided, helped get her to where she is today.
“My goal before the school year ends in June is to lead campus visits to SSU to get students excited about post-secondary options and hopefully inspire some future Vikings!”