Graduate Speaker Q & A with Sarah Lambert Derian


Q: How much have you grown since starting at New England College?

A: New England College has opened up my whole world to possibility and opportunity. I now have the education and academic language to support my passion and experience. This education has provided me with an awareness I never even knew I needed. I am so much more capable, competent, and reflective than I ever thought I could be.

Q: What did you like the most?

A: I especially appreciated NEC’s emphasis on experiential learning. This provided me with opportunities to put theory into practice and to explore spaces in my discipline I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to encounter. I am a better educator as a result.

Q: What will you miss?

A: I participated in the online Master’s of Education program. This provided me with the unique opportunity to enjoy classes where we all enjoyed the experience of being both students and teachers in that space. I will miss this reminder and humbling experience that I am always as much a student as I am a teacher.

Q: Who, if anyone, would you like to thank (at NEC or otherwise)?

A: There simply is not enough room to thank all the people who have supported me on this long and unexpected journey, but I hope I’ve lived my life in a way that they know who they are. I especially want to thank my teachers for their unwavering support. My program at NEC provided me the time and space to reflect on my past as a student and to reconnect with former teachers to express my gratitude one-by-one; I am forever grateful for those very special opportunities.

Q: What would you say to your first-year self?

A: I came into this program overly concerned with the academics involved in my program. I very quickly learned that not only was it encouraged for me to apply my experiences in my work, it was necessary. Theory and praxis must meet somewhere, and my first-year self had no appreciation for this balance or for the amazing opportunities experiential learning had to offer. To any first-year graduate student: make sure you have experiences to bring with you before you start, otherwise this journey will not be nearly as meaningful.

Q: Why did you want to be a commencement speaker?

A: I wanted to be a commencement speaker because I had an exceptionally wonderful experience at New England College. I never thought I would have the extreme honor and privilege of earning an advanced degree, and I wanted the opportunity to express my immense gratitude and reflect on what this gift of education means to me.

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Marissa is an alumnus of the New England College Class of 2019. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with two Bachelor's Degrees in Communication Studies and Business Marketing. She was the Editor in Chief for The New Englander from 2018-2019 and wrote many pieces across all sections while also managing the website, social media, and designing print editions. Marissa currently works at Amoskeag Health in the Advancement Department as the Content Marketing Specialist.
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