Graduate Sara Maginot

FRCC graduate, mom and veteran is now heading to CU-Boulder.

Sara Maginot is always up for a challenge.

The Boulder native was inspired to go into the US Marine Corps after attending a friend’s graduation ceremony. Within six months of graduating from Fairview High School in 2008, she had enlisted and was on her way to boot camp.

After her training, Sara was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. “I was so drawn to the Marines because, while I was a good high school student, I never really applied myself,” she says. “For some reason, I wanted to see if I could do this and push myself while serving my country.”

Back to Colorado

Sara served in the military as a signals intelligence analyst until 2013, then returned to her hometown. “I knew I wanted to go to college—but something kept me from it, because I was focused on making money and getting my life going,” she says. She became a certified dog groomer and then joined the restaurant industry a couple years later. And in 2017 she had her daughter.

It was Sara’s own mother who nudged her to get back into a classroom. “She said, ‘Take one class,’ and for some reason, those words lit a fire in me. I wanted a degree, and I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and be able to support myself and my daughter.”

Starting at FRCC

In 2019, Sara enrolled in not one class, but five—a full-time schedule—at FRCC’s Boulder County campus. Her two younger brothers (both now University of Colorado-Boulder graduates) had also taken classes there during their summer breaks.

“My brothers spoke highly of FRCC, so I knew I would get a great education there for a more affordable price,” she says. “I loved that I could complete my first two years of a bachelor’s degree and transfer to a four-year Colorado college or university.”

Priority #1: Motherhood

Outside of school, Sara’s highest priority is raising her now three-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a frustrating year of visits to various specialists. “We noticed at three months old that things weren’t right, and it took a while to figure out what was going on,” Sara says.

Although the last few years have been challenging, Sara’s daughter went from being unable to walk at two and a half to now running and talking and learning alongside her typical preschool peers. “She’s made incredible progress thanks to the amazing specialists at Children’s Hospital of Colorado.”

An Impressive Résumé

Despite her full plate, Sara is a star student at FRCC. She is the vice president of fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, planning philanthropic events like campus food drives. She’s an intern for the Colorado State Legislature, first working for a Senator in 2020 and currently for a state representative. Over the past several months, much of her role has involved helping constituents schedule COVID-19 vaccines. And on top of it all, she has a 4.0 GPA.

The support she’s had at FRCC has kept her going, even when the going gets tough.

Sara was encouraged to apply for the Colorado State Legislature internship by her history professor, Andy DeRoche. “I‘ve been impressed with the faculty and staff at FRCC,” she says. “Every single instructor I’ve had has been so excited about their topic, and it’s made me want to be passionate about their passions. They’ve made me believe in myself and work harder.”

“I‘ve been impressed with the faculty and staff at FRCC. They’ve made me believe in myself and work harder.”

Next Stop: University of Colorado-Boulder

Sara is eager to make her mark at CU-Boulder in the fall of 2021 when she transfers into the psychology program to start work on her bachelor’s degree. She plans to minor in philosophy.

Her long-term plan is to apply to law school and graduate programs in psychology after she completes her CU degree in 2023.

“I’ve been interested in the criminal justice system for a long time, and my internships have expanded my interest in the law, but I’m also very interested in the field of psychology,” she says. “I’ve had people in my life struggle with addiction and I see the link between addiction and mental health. It’s an area of interest where I’d love to make a difference. So, I’ll apply both to law school and grad school and go from there.”

Sara’s dream job would be to blend her interests and become a substance abuse criminal lawyer.

Everything for Her Daughter

Sara’s college journey so far has been everything she hoped for—and more. “I came to FRCC with a goal to give every ounce I had,” she says. “And I definitely have done that, which has made it a great experience.” And although being a college student, mother and restaurant server simultaneously isn’t easy, Sara wouldn’t change a thing.

“Being a mother to a special needs child has helped me become a more compassionate and educated person,” Sara says. “I always say that maturing and having some life experience is what’s helped me to be as successful as I have been at FRCC. And that is definitely true, but it is my daughter who I owe my success to. She has pushed me to strive to do great things. I wouldn’t be on this path today if it wasn’t for her.”

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