Sarah Mader

Sarah refreshes skills as T.A.

After completing pattern making, a core course for designers, Sarah considered applying to be a teaching assistant (T.A.) for the following semester. At first she felt intimidated, but the professor, Ellen McKinney, approached her about the opportunity.

“Pattern making is a hard class,” she said. “I was scared to apply, but my professor asked me to, and that was reassuring.”

Sarah applied and received the only all-time T.A. position. She loved coming to every class and helping the students with their various projects. She especially enjoyed sharing her pattern-making knowledge with them.

“I had a lot of Facebook messages at 2 a.m.,” she said. “They’d ask for my help, and I liked it. Not only did it mean I was creating possibilities for them, but it also helped me hone my own skills.”

It wasn’t until after the semester ended that Sarah learned the impact she had on students.

“After the class wrapped up, I had a few students come up to me in the hallways to say they missed me,” she said. “They said I truly enhanced their learning experience. That was a very special moment to me.”

Sarah advises future T.A.’s to take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference by keeping themselves available to each student.

“Be open and friendly,” she said. “Use your own experiences to inspire them. Help them think, ‘She did it, and I can too’.”