Hi there! My name is Sarah DeMaria and I am an Honors College Alumni Representative.
I grew up in Egg Harbor Township, NJ and started at Pitt in 2010. I graduated from Pitt with a BA in 2013 and again in 2015 with an MEd. Currently, I am a PhD Student in Urban Special Education at Pitt. My BA is in History and Political Science and my MEd is in Instruction and Learning with a focus in Social Studies Education and Special Education for grades 7-12.
No one from my High School in suburban New Jersey really knew about Pitt. I received a postcard in the mail of the Cathedral of Learning and became interested in Pitt! My family visited, and even though it was a dreary, damp, gray day, I immediately connected with the campus and general spirit I felt from the students walking around.
I think my biggest accomplishment while at Pitt was completing the Brackenridge. It was an opportunity to do cross-disciplinary research in History, Psychology, and Literature through the Honors College!
Being a student in the Honors College helped me meet and connect with interesting faculty, fellow students, and alumni that guided me towards following my academic passions. I am on my way to earning my third degree (a PhD in Urban Special Education) at Pitt, so to say that this University and the Honors College has been influential in my life in phenomenal ways would be an understatement!
After I graduated with my MEd, for one year, I taught Social Studies classes to 12th graders in a town outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Next, I moved to Houston, Texas, and I taught Social Studies to 9th graders. The three Social Studies courses that I have taught include Civics, AP US Government, and AP Human Geography. Despite becoming a General Education Teacher, I still used the skills I learned from the Special Education portion of my education and remained interested in the field.
As a current PhD student, although I will have to focus on one research topic eventually, I have many interests that I would like to pursue either during school or afterwards! These interests include (1) the inclusion of students with disabilities in AP classes, (2) how to improve Special Education teacher retention rates, and (3) writing interventions designed to help students with disabilities.
I am so glad I chose Pitt even if I just consider my experience here from an academic point of view! However, an important thing to consider is how taking the time to build relationships – not just working on the academics – can be just as influential in your life. Forming friendships and professional relationships with both my peers and faculty (and others) has been absolutely worth it. Two-thirds of my wedding party were people I met through the Pitt Honors College and have maintained friendships with for years after college. The people I met at Pitt have been an amazing support network that I absolutely cherish.