Grad Story 2019: Sarah Barker, Two Decades to Graduation


12/12/2019

One month before her 18th birthday, Sarah Barker was in a traffic accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was in a coma for three months, followed by nine months of intensive rehab.

After spending a year in the hospital she came home and announced nothing would stop her from earning a college degree. "I have way too much life left to sit back and not do anything," Sarah recalls. "I am going to do this. It may take a little longer, but I am going to do this."

The Accessibility Resource Center at St. Ambrose worked with Sarah to create a path forward to her degree. Now, 21 years later, we applaud her victory. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English on Dec. 14, 2019.

"I've seen her get stronger and strong in her determination," said Ryan Saddler, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Learn more about Sarah's story. Watch this video

Sarah is tai chi class

"I'm Going To Do This."


Despite ongoing mobility and memory issues related to the accident, Sarah saved her most challenging course for her last; a 1-credit Tai Chi course that fulfilled an important SAU general education requirement.

You Might Also Be Interested In...

News and Events

Share This Story

AmbroseZine | News
Photo of Kristina Shelman and Anna Schmidt

SAU students Kristina Shelman and Anna Schmidt were named "Future Leaders of Conservation in the Quad Cities" and will receive the Oberholtzer Award and a $1,000 scholarship each from the Nahant Marsh Education Center.

Read More

Advancement | News
news

St. Ambrose University will celebrate diversity and the legacy of its first African American professor, Dr. Freeman Pollard, on March 24 at the annual the Freeman Pollard Breakfast.

Read More

AmbroseZine | News
bath bomb molds

The clubs created bath bombs and sold them on campus as a fundraiser for each of the organizations.

Read More

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!