Sarah Parker ’14 is anything but boastful. The advertising major attributes much of her success to her time spent developing relationships with Appalachian State University faculty.
“What I liked about Appalachian was the hands-on experience,” Parker said. “I had professors approach me and ask me to design things for them.”
They had good reason to have faith in Parker’s skills. A national champion before she even left high school, Parker competed in a national competition for an organization known as WorldSkills, a foundation dedicated to showcasing skills. While in college, Parker was asked back to utilize her graphic design expertise in an international WorldSkills competition that put her on a team with other talented students from around the world. She acted as communication director for the team that would take first place in a Water Innovation Challenge in Singapore. The clean water system Parker and her team developed is now in the process of being tested in Bangladesh.
Parker’s talents found a nurturing environment at Appalachian.
“Jean DeHart, my advisor, put me on the right track,” Parker said. Now the chair of the Department of Communication, DeHart helped Parker in her search for an internship, and Parker eventually landed a coveted spot with Disney as a tour guide at the Hollywood Studios Movie Ride. Now working her second internship with Disney, Parker is flourishing outside of school, hoping to use her internships as a stepping stone towards a career in graphic design in advertising.
Parker looks back on her time at Appalachian fondly, citing the invaluable skills she picked up.
“Appalachian helped me to present myself professionally. I got a lot of networking opportunities,” Parker said of the university’s contribution to her success. “It opened a lot of doors for me and helped me grow.”