Sarah Kurtz: The Road to SAHE

Relational and Organizational Communication

Sarah Kurtz

Sarah Kurtz

When many students graduate, the last thing on their mind is going back to school. Sarah Kurtz however, is the opposite. She doesn’t want to leave. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to.  

Kurtz is in her final semester at CSU, graduating in a few short months. She’s double majoring in Communication Studies and Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. After graduating from CSU, she plans on earning her Master of Science degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education (SAHE).

“The ultimate dream is to come back to CSU and work in the Orientation and Transition Programs office,” said Kurtz. “I love everything OTP does.”

This past summer, Kurtz worked as an Orientation Leader with the OTP office.

“Looking back, it was probably the best experience of [my time at] CSU,” said Kurtz.

In order to become an Orientation Leader, Kurtz had to push graduation back by one semester. “One of the minimum requirements was graduating in December 2017 or later. This was my absolute last chance to be an OL.”

Kurtz didn’t just walk into the job. She applied to be an Orientation Leader her second year and didn’t get called in for an interview. Although she was discouraged, she reapplied her senior year with the encouragement of her advisor, and a few more years of experience.

Her favorite part of being an Orientation Leader?

“I got paid to share my passion and pride of being a CSU Ram,” said Kurtz.

Student feedback was also rewarding. “So many of them told me I made this transition so much more comforting for them and they feel more confident going here,” Kurtz said. “Knowing I made an impact was the most satisfying part of the job.”

Kurtz credits her success as an Orientation Leader to the skills she’s learned as a Communication Studies major, such as interpersonal communication and the ability to write and speak well. She also says she benefited from the everyday life skills she learned in her relational and organizational classes.

“This is something I know I can carry with me,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz’s on-campus involvements aren’t limited to orientation programs. She’s on the Visible Voices panel, is a College of Liberal Arts Advising Intern, and has participated in the on-campus Drag Show since fall 2014. These additional experiences only enhance her skills beyond the classroom.

Visible Voices is an educational program coordinated by the Pride Resource Center. Panelists are part of the LGBT or ally communities and share coming out stories, act as positive role models, and build understanding and acceptance. As a Visible Voices panelist, Kurtz has the opportunity to share her story, educate others and make an impact. In this panel, she talks to groups of students.

“My mom always told me growing up it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a group of 10 or a group of 1,000 — you’re going to affect one person in that room,” Kurtz said. With that knowledge, Kurtz enjoys knowing somebody will take one thing away from what she has shared. “It’s satisfying, similar to being an Orientation Leader, knowing I made an impact.”

Kurtz says her biggest achievement throughout her college career is how much she was able to get involved. “My family jokes I’ve gotten more involved than any of them combined,” said Kurtz. “It’s definitely something I’m very proud of.”