“Once I found the SI program, I knew this is where I had to be,” senior Sarah Jacob explained.
It's a field she's certainly found success in.
Sarah earned an internship with the Department of Homeland Security her sophomore year, and plans to work there after she graduates in May 2018.
But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the Brooklyn, New York, native. Upon arriving on campus her freshman year, Sarah blew off her first semester.
“That semester changed me. I was way out of my element and diverged from my driven high-school self,” she said. “I needed that semester to know that I didn’t need to ‘find myself in college’ — I know who I am and needed to return to that.”
Being in the PHC environment strengthened Sarah, teaching her that she doesn't need to hide her convictions.
“I’ve had to re-learn what I believe and why I believe it,” she said.
In the spring of her sophomore year after applying to a few internships, Sarah received a call from the Department of Homeland Security — she had earned a coveted spot as an intern at DHS. The opportunity has become one of the most challenging and enriching times of her life. The first week in the office, Sarah found out that many PHC alumni also worked at DHS. She is still interning for the DHS full-time.
When reflecting back on her four years at PHC, Sarah realizes she has become more independent.
“When I came in, I had never held a job and was completely dependent on my parents,” Jacob said.
Her parents made a deal with her before coming to PHC: they would pay for the first two years of college and she would be responsible for the last two.
“Having to juggle paying those bills, 40-hour work weeks, 18-credit semesters, and personal relationships has been so incredibly draining but also changed me into a completely different person,” Sarah said.
She completed her last school payment this spring, and finished without loans.
“I don’t think I would be who I am today without this place,” Sarah said. “The only thing that has kept me going here is the people. I’m not just talking about my friends, because I will make them a part of my life forever. I’m talking about the professors. We have an incredible faculty, every single one of them.”
Jacob gives credit to each professor, especially the Strategic Intelligence professors led by Dr. Gordon Middleton.
“I will miss their kindness, their wit, and just who they are. I love all of them,” Sarah said.
Sarah plans on working full-time at DHS in the immediate future after graduation.
“I feel like my story is about to really start, and I have no idea what it will look like," she said.
Reporting courtesy of PHC's The Herald, PHC's weekly student publication.
This story was originally published in PHC's student newspaper, The Herald. To read more about what PHC grads are up to, click the button below!