Media Relations Coordinator, CMU College of Fine ARts
BA in English, Gettysburg College 2009
Sara Harenchar (MAPW '10) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Gettysburg College with a BA in English. In addition, she minored in writing, philosophy, and peace and justice studies. Outside the classroom, she worked as a service project coordinator for the Center for Public Service, served as an editorial assistant for then philosophy department chair Kerry Walters and as a teaching assistant for the English department chair Suzanne Flynn. She also was part of a co-ed a cappella group, Four Scores, during all four of her years at Gettysburg.
Based on her undergraduate interests, Sara knew she wanted to pursue a career in writing, perhaps in the non-profit sector. She decided to go back to school so that she could explore the different career options available to her.
"I chose CMU because of its reputation and the strength of the MAPW program-many of the alums had great internships and strong first positions once they had graduated," she says.
Sara has been serving as Media Relations Coordinator with CMU's College of Fine Arts (CFA) since the spring of 2010. In this position, she has been receiving hands-on experience in non-profit communication.
"My internship at the College of Fine Arts has been instrumental. I have been able to experience all aspects of non-profit communication. While working in media relations, I am able to see all of the ways a non-profit interacts with the media and all the ways to publicize events," she says.
Her internship has also helped her gain experience with grant writing, a related area she is strongly interested in.
"I have also been working with the development office to write grant proposals, allowing me to see the fundraising side of non-profit communication."
Sara believes that the coursework she has taken in the MAPW program has also been crucial in preparing her for her future career.
"The coursework in the MAPW program really helps you re-evaluate the way you write, to think about what sort of language is best for your audience and how to best meet the needs of your client and your audience," she says.
More specifically, Sara says, "Style really helped me to look at my writing in a new way, and I would say that Literary Journalism helped with that as well. PR/Marketing gave me a good perspective about what was expected for me as a media intern and what sorts of communication work best for certain companies/environments. Document Design really helped me learn Adobe software and I use many of the techniques I learned in that class at my internship with CFA."
Sara also holds a research assistant position with MAPW program director Dr. Karen Schnakenberg. In this role she networks with MAPW alumni and plans MAPW events. She also does freelance editing-most recently, she edited a book on hypnosis that was just published by the National Society of Hypnotists.
Sara will be graduating in December with her MAPW degree, and looks forward to pursuing a career in the non-profit, most likely in development and fundraising.