Professional Portrait

Taken in Oct. 2017, Lincoln, Oregon. Photographer: Sarah Smallwood

My name is Sarah Smallwood. I am a Norman, Oklahoma native currently attending college at the University of Oklahoma. I am pursuing a degree in public relations with a minor in environmental studies.

Being a junior in college, I have narrowed down my future goals to include working as a public relations agent for an organization working with the environment, either in marine conservation or outdoor gear and clothing. My hobbies include photography, video-gaming, and a multitude of outdoor activities.

My passion for the environment and conservation is what drives most of the fundamental decisions I make. I believe that climate change is simultaneously one of the largest threats to society, while also the most overlooked. I want to advance the cause of conservation and wildlife advocacy by managing the relationship between the public and wild-life related entities, whether that is a conservation firm or a clothing company which sells hiking and camping gear.

As a public relations major, I am expected to combine effective writing and communication skills with research and strategic thinking. In a world that increasingly relies on personal devices for sources of content, the area of design is becoming vital to public relations specialists. Currently, I am a novice to design and all that it entails, still learning how to use an advanced camera and editing tools.

I look forward to attempting to master various design tools and techniques, and learning how to apply these to my career goals.

Studying Abroad

Thinking of a decisive answer to the question, “Where do you want to study abroad?” is a very difficult thing to do. There are many multiple places in different areas of the world that I would like to travel to, including Germany, France, Tanzania, England, and some areas in Latin America. I also have an interest in traveling to places where I could interact with wildlife as much as possible.

This is why places like Tanzania, Australia, and Brazil are some places that I would be very interested in visiting. As someone who is very interested in the environment and how humans interact with it, visiting these places would give me a good opportunity to do just that. Aside from that, I also am very fond for history, particularly that of Europe. This is why I would also enjoy going to different places in Europe, to explore the thousand-year old cities in ancient cultures. Europe has a lot of history that the United States lacks, as the U.S. is such a young country.

When it comes to classes that I would like to take and things I would like to study, things like analyzing the old societies, while at the same time taking science classes would be ideal.

To become more culturally immersed, I plan to explore as much of the cuisine as possible. Cooking is a major hobby of mine; it is something I do to distress and stay healthy, and I’m passionate about exploring new flavors and trying things that aren’t available in the United States, where pop-culture has muddied the selection of foods to an Americanized fast food selection. Variation from these trends is expensive. Over seas? It’s normal.

Furthermore, I would also plan ahead to see what local events are taking place during my visit. From concerts to festivals to lectures, I would like to experience these things as an average citizen would, taking normal transit to get there, to eating food only available on the way. These things along with visiting places like supermarkets would help to give a less superficial experience to me.

I would say that OU has had an impact on where I would like to study. Before coming to OU, my plans were Euro-centric. I was interested mainly in going to Western Europe, places like England. Now, I feel more open to experiences far different than my ones at home. Before going to OU, I had never considered Tanzania as a place to study abroad. Now I look forward to the exotic experience, the wild life, and the culture shock.

Overall, what I hope to gain from a study abroad a new perspective, total cultural immersion, and a connection with the things Earth has to offer. This includes mountains, oceans, dessert. Every continent has it’s own geological value.

What has prevented me from making a final decision so far has simply been the struggle of where I want to go first.