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Plan II Honors

Alum Profile: Sara

Sara M. Saastamoinen
Plan II Honors & Management
Class of 2015
Development Director at Children of Bellevue

My name is Sara Saastamoinen, and I have the honor of being an alumn of the Plan II Honors program. I graduated in 2015 after five years of studying for degrees in Plan II and Management from the McCombs School of Business, with an additional minor in International Business, a certificate in European Studies, and summer spent studying abroad across Italy. That laundry list of academic pursuits was one of my favorite parts of the program—being able to pursue my intellectual interests, regardless of whether I was formally receiving a degree in that area or not. The opportunity to take classes with fantastic professors in their specific areas of interest—one of my junior seminar courses was Dr. Linda Henderson’s Fourth Dimension in 20th Century Art and Culture, and yes, it was just as fascinating as it sounds—allowed me to explore what I found interesting and to better figure out what I’d want to spend the rest of my 80,000 working hours doing. Beyond the classroom, the program afforded me opportunities to test-drive work I was interested in, such as interning at the Harry Ransom Center for Humanities Research.

When you are considering the program, you might be trying to figure out how Plan II will concretely provide you with stepping stones to your career. When I was in high school, I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted my life’s work to be, so if you haven’t either, you are not alone and that’s okay! Plan II isn’t a one-track path to law school, grad school, or a specific career. Rather, it opens up a tremendous number of doors for you—and you get to choose which ones to peek behind—and teaches you the skill to succeed across a variety of professions. The curriculum requires you to write a significant amount which hones your ability to concisely state your reasoning. The breadth of coursework allows you to understand the fundamentals of a variety of disciplines and have conversations with anyone from any field. The course content is created not to teach you how to memorize facts or formulas but to refine your ability to critically consider arguments, listen to multiple points of view, and validate claims. Beyond teaching you skills, the program also gives you a family away from home and lifelong peers.

For me personally, not only did the program help me figure out my passions, but my peers, professors, and the Plan II staff all personally supported my pursuit of my passions, both during college and even after graduation.

Post Plan II I worked for three years at Deloitte Consulting in its human capital practice in the organization transformation and talent area consulting for international humanitarian aid and children’s poverty NGOs and U.S.-based advocacy and literacy organizations. Today I have a dream job only a few years after graduation. Living in New York City, I serve the 25,000 kids and teens who visit our nation’s oldest public hospital, Bellevue, by securing funding for mental health services, child protection, literacy programs, and more and by advocating for equitable access to resources and evidence-based social interventions.

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