Grad Story 2019: Sarah Barker, Two Decades to Graduation


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.

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