Alumna Profile: Sarah Gibson ’14 Pursues Career as Journalist

The first stop on the annual Indian Creek School (ICS) junior class college visitation trip in the fall of 2012 was the University of Delaware (UD). Sarah Gibson ’14 didn’t know that UD existed, but she fell in love with the school from the second she stepped off the bus and saw the campus. When she realized UD had the major she wanted and was the right distance from home, it became Sarah’s dream school.

After graduating from ICS, Sarah attended University of Delaware for a B.A. in English (with a concentration in Professional Writing). Shortly after starting college in August 2014, she realized that she could graduate early because of her high school AP classes. By earning high AP scores on the corresponding AP tests, Sarah entered her freshman year at UD with multiple credits and graduated a full year early. “Without those AP credits, I don't think it would have even occurred to me that I could graduate early, but graduating early let me earn my bachelor's degree and my master's degree in four years total.”

During her sophomore year at UD, Sarah joined the school newspaper on the advice of a professor, and loved it so much that she added journalism as a minor (as it wasn't available as a major at UD.) “I started to realize I didn't want to rush into working right away as I wanted more education in the field of journalism, so I decided to take what would have been my fourth year of undergrad to instead earn my master's degree in Journalism and Public Affairs (with a concentration in Investigative Journalism) at American University.”

At American, Sarah earned an M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs in August 2018 and worked as a journalist, both while she completed her degree and for a few months afterwards. She is now a Writing Associate at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan non-profit founded at the request of President Kennedy in 1963 to secure equal justice for all using the legal bar.

Sarah has many fond memories of her time at ICS. “I think one of my favorite everyday activities was sitting in the far left corner of the Upper School Library in those blue chairs and reading/socializing during study halls and lunches. I also really enjoyed going to CREEKfest when I was in Lower School; I remember having fun playing all the games and cashing in tickets for prizes. In Middle School, I loved being in the musicals with my friends. At the Upper School, Mrs. Hilary Briles let a few of us have a little room for painting our final projects, and it was so much fun to hang out in that little studio and paint with my friends every day. But my all-time favorite memory of ICS is definitely AP Art History with Mr. Chip Voros. That class was so wonderful, and memories from it are some of the happiest of that time in my life.”

Sarah credits the following teachers for the tremendous impact they had on her: Mr. Chip Voros (for “completely changing the trajectory of my career from science to writing”), Ms. Ashley Fetterolf (“for encouraging my literary explorations for all four years of high school”), Mrs. Eileen Mattingly (whose “AP English Language class helped set up the foundations of my writing” – Strunk & White included!), Mrs. Anne Engles (“a truly wonderful teacher and person that I am honored to know”), Mrs. Briles (for having “a huge impact on me in high school art”).

Sarah has the following advice for anyone who wants to go into writing specifically: “There are so many different paths you can take. For example, I do not have any talent for writing fiction, though I enjoy reading it, so I knew I would need to go into professional writing in some other capacity. Part of the beauty of an English degree is the freedom to combine your other interests with the degree. Do you like science and writing? Try technical writing, someone needs to clean up the jargon from doctors and scientists and turn it into something more digestable for the average reader. Or, like I did, find an organization that you care about and want to advance the mission of, and work in a writing capacity for that cause. So much of what my life is like now just kind of happened along the way as a result of the people I knew, the groups I joined, and the jobs I had, so it's really hard to prepare for a specific path, but if you follow your interests and passions, you'll find something you enjoy doing.”