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Purdue Northwest Pioneer

Student spotlight: Sarah Maddox

Kurt Urbanski, Staff Writer

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Sarah Maddox, senior communications major, is a student, leader and role model, and she is making the most of her experience at PNW.

Maddox graduated from New Prairie High School and transferred to PNW after initially studying culinary arts at the Illinois Institute of Art. She chose PNW because she felt it was a beautiful campus that was close to home and offered a hands-on, one-on-one teaching experience.

When Maddox started at PNW, she made it her goal to achieve good grades and be accepted into an honor society. Since setting that goal, she has received semester honors and made the Chancellor’s List multiple times. She is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation’s largest leadership honor society; secretary for Lambda Pi Eta, a communications honor society; and an active member of the American Sign Language Club.

“One of the things that I really enjoyed about the National Society of Leadership and Success was the speaker broadcasts,” Maddox said.

Maddox’s favorite speaker was Leigh Anne Tuohy and felt the broadcasts “were really uplifting and made me feel like I could accomplish anything because they were stories of people that started off just like us and are now successful.”

Maddox has demonstrated an interest in community involvement. In December 2015, as part of her Intro to Public Relations course, she helped organize a Relay for Life luminaria event at PNW to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The event featured testimonials from students and faculty, and guests had the opportunity to decorate luminaria bags to show support for those battling cancer.

During the Fall 2016 semester, Maddox was an intern for Indiana Dunes Tourism. While working there, she assisted with advertising and hosting the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay in October as the torch passed through Porter County. Also, in conjunction with the American Sign Language Club, she hosted a game day for deaf members of the community. Hearing and non-hearing youth were invited to the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, where they learned nature signs, played games, and signed Maddox’s story “Once Upon a Christmas at the Indiana Dunes.” Maddox said the ASL Game Day was her favorite event.

“It gave me the opportunity to test everything I’ve learned in the classroom. I really enjoyed seeing the community come together to learn a new language,” Maddox said.

As a communication major, Maddox has developed a close relationship with Carrie Higgins, continuing lecturer of communication. Maddox is a supplemental instructor for Higgins’s Fundamentals of Speech class. Higgins said Maddox is obviously passionate about her field based off of her interactions with the students.

“I have also really enjoyed watching the evolvement of her appreciation for how much time and effort faculty actually expend while teaching our students. Her enthusiasm for school is refreshing and continues to inspire me to deliver the highest quality instruction,” Higgins said.

Higgins said Maddox remains positive despite the effort it takes to keep up with everything she works on.

“No matter how much she is stressed, as all college students are, Sarah has a smile on her face and a positive outlook on how to problem-solve almost anything,” Higgins said.

As part of a service learning project this spring, Maddox, Higgins, and a group of communication students helped build a new dog park at Pine Elementary in Michigan City.

“[Maddox] always goes above and beyond to ensure our community partners in these projects get the highest quality of experience with our PNW students,” Carrie said.

In her spare time, Maddox enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking and photography. She recently started her own photography business, titled “We Just Click Photography.”

After graduating from PNW, Maddox plans to pursue a career in event planning, marketing or public relations. She is thankful for her experience at PNW, and her advice for future students is “don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and ask for help. They are there to help you.”

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