Originally Sara Dell, Associate Director of CO-OPS + CAREERS at Wentworth, planned to be a Professor of Anthropology. She earned two degrees before learning that she liked to work in teams and preferred seeing immediate results from her work. So, she left her PhD program and instead, having come from a family of small business people, went to work in industry. First in large corporate banking (in Foreign Exchange – the cowboys of banking, where 20 million dollars is traded into Yen in less than a minute) and then in a series of small startups and emerging growth companies in various industries including Buzz marketing, entertainment, and green technology.
Starting in operations and finding she liked working with people, Sara’s mentors encouraged her to specialize in Human Resources. She found herself hired as employee number ten and the only operations person working for the 6-foot redhead CEO, and University of Cincinnati DAAP program alum. She wanted her creative company to have co-ops. The company had two interns the summer before Sara arrived and she grew the program to where there were co-op students in almost every department. At one point, the ratio of co-ops and interns to staff was 1:3.
Working with co-op students became her favorite part of her job and so she decided to shift to Career Services in Higher Education. Through a series of informational interviews, Sara landed an Assistant Director role at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago where she advised students’ full-time on their careers and finding co-ops and internships. She found she loved working with engineering and technology students, appreciated being part of a team and was energized when a student would come in with a co-op, internship or a full-time offer.
A few years later, having lived 20 years in Chicago, Sara wanted to return home to New England. She missed the region and her family. When she saw the open position at Wentworth Institute of Technology, the school reminded her of her current school, but with the added benefit of a co-op program. She applied and got the offer. Hired as a CO-OP + CAREER Advisor, Sara is now the Associate Director, running the co-op program. A career that started with building a co-op program in industry has grown into overseeing the co-op program here at Wentworth. Sara’s journey has come full circle and she is back in Higher Education on a team who works with students’ full time. Sara celebrates every time a Wentworth student lands a co-op!