Practical Study

When Sarah Burks arrived at Earlham, she had no idea what to major in. She explored a wide variety of interests before deciding to major in Human Development and Social Relations (HDSR) and minor in Psychology. She now has a career in counseling as her ultimate goal.

Burks, who followed not only her older brother, Evan '08, to Richmond, but also her parents, who were students here in the 70s, says that she found community at Earlham while living on Co-Op Hall.

"For some people it may be a connection made through participating in sports or an extracurricular activity, but for me, living in that cooperative environment forged some powerful friendships."

Part of what prompted her to look at the HDSR program was that it was "practical," she said, singling out the field study portion of the program.

"I got to spend a significant amount of time in one space, working and observing and then writing about the experience. Now I can say, 'Here's what I did. I accomplished something tangible.'"

When asked who was her biggest influence while at Earlham, Burks didn't hesitate before singling out Michael R. Jackson, associate professor of psychology, who oversaw her field study.

"He taught me how to write," she says. "It's the most important skill set I'll take away from college."

Sarah Burks
Sarah Burks 2011

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.

Major at Earlham: Human Development and Social Relations

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