April 30, 2024

PBA Graduate Sarah Pouliot – Paving a Strong Path in Writing and Leadership

PBA News

Sarah Pouliot’s vivacious engagement reflects her expansive vocabulary and eloquence. When she speaks, her passion for English and insightful reflections reveal the depth of her mastery. Hailing from Titusville, Florida, Sarah graduates in May 2024 from Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Education. What makes her outstanding is that her academic journey is adorned with prestigious accolades, including the William C. Johnson Scholarship, awarded annually to one student from Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society; PBA’s Women of Distinction Scholarship; and most recently being selected from 146 national candidates to serve in Sigma Tau Delta’s prestigious Summer Journal Internship. In addition, because of her academic excellence and service to the society, she has been named the Centennial Journal Intern. The internship lasts May 15 to August 15, 2024.  

With a smile, Sarah’s eyes lit up on the Monday afternoon she sat down to share how her path led her to PBA. In her final year of high school, she weighed options between larger state schools and smaller private institutions. With her mom by her side, she participated in 12 college tours. “It was our thing that summer,” she added jokingly. She was accepted to the nine institutions she applied to, but still seeking some discernment, she booked a tour with PBA after learning about the institution from a friend. “After visiting and experiencing the sense of peace and community on campus, and meeting with faculty like Dr. Elmore and Dr. Bedasse, I knew PBA was where I could learn and grow the most,” Sarah recalls. 

She is confident she made the right choice. “I have a wonderful relationship with my English, education, and honors professors. Without them, I would not be who I am today. It’s hard to imagine that I would get this level of support anywhere else,” she shares.  

Academic Excellence and Achievements 

Originally, Sarah intended to pursue a double major in English and Education, but, the more English classes she took, the more she unearthed her passion for the subject. She has earned an accolade in almost every award to which she has applied. There are a few she says have really cemented her path. 

“Winning the William C. Johnson Scholarship was incredibly affirming,” Sarah explains. “It fueled my passion for English and inspired me to further explore my creative and analytical abilities.” Under the teaching of Professor David Athey, Sarah discovered her passion for creative writing, and during her time at PBA, she has published fourteen creative works in both local and international journals. Her success at the Sigma Tau Delta conventions is a testament to her versatility and deep engagement with literary studies, winning second place in creative nonfiction in 2022 and third place in non-British literature in 2024. 

The fall of her senior year, Sarah was also able to participate in a study abroad experience at Oxford University, where she immersed herself in modern literature and creative writing. “Studying at Oxford was transformative, allowing me to delve into the works of authors like T.S. Eliot and experiencing where they once lived and wrote,” she shares. For her research at Oxford, Sarah won the De Jager Prize. 

Hoping to one day pursue a Ph.D. that will allow her to serve as a professor, Sarah is already actively using her Education minor. She references how it helps her academic English research, especially through PBA’s SUGAR (Summer Undergraduate Research Award Grant), which allowed her to collaborate with Dr. Carl Miller during the summer of 2022 on the representation of stuttering in children’s literature. It culminated with her presenting a research paper in Seattle at the Children’s Literature Association Conference. “That was the first time I presented at a conference that wasn’t for undergraduates,” she adds. “There were only two of us there and everyone else was either in their doctorate program, university professors, or just big names in the field. So, I got to meet the people that I cited in my research and sit down and get dinner with them.” 

Scholarly Contributions and Future Aspirations  

Sarah’s influence extends beyond personal accomplishments; she has significantly shaped the PBA literary community through her roles in various organizations. As president of PBA’s English Honor Society, she led the chapter to national recognition. In addition to her presidency, Sarah’s commitment is evident in her editorial work with PBA’s Living Waters Review and her work as a tutor at the university writing center. In these positions, Sarah helps plan and promote literary and academic events on campus, including Student Literature Night. These roles have not only enhanced her skills but also allowed her to contribute to the success of her peers. 

Sarah’s dream is to embark on a promising career in publishing, starting with her prestigious internship with Sigma Tau Delta’s international journal, where she will engage with submissions from around the world. “This internship represents a significant step towards my career goals, offering me a platform to apply and expand my editorial skills on an international scale,” she anticipates. 

As Sarah Pouliot prepares for graduation, her trajectory is clear—she is not just finishing a degree but is forging a path that blends her literary talents with her commitment to educational and societal enrichment. 

She advises potential students considering PBA to connect with students and faculty to determine if the institution is the right fit. “I really thrived in the school environment and the closeness of the community,” she shares. “I’ve made lifelong friends and connections with my professors. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given here. It would not have been possible without the support of Dr. Miller, Dr. Elmore, and Professor Athey. To them, I am forever grateful.  

She encourages potential students to set up a meeting with a professor during their tour. “I think it will help you make your decision, like it did mine. It’s really about the professors and the students—that’s who you’re seeing and working with every day. PBA is filled with the most intelligent, kind, and passionate people I have ever met. It has been a privilege to learn from and alongside them.” 

Explore more about PBA here. Interested in pursuing a major in English? Find out more here.  To watch PBA’s 2024 Commencement recap video, click here

Photo credit: Emily Denny Photography – @emilydennyphoto

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