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UConn a welcome change to Aller
December 15, 1997

Sarah E. Aller, a third-semester undergraduate, wanted to make a big change in her life. So she left her home state of Iowa and headed east to attend college at the UConn.

"I just wanted to do something completely different from what I knew. I also wanted to go to a big school because I went to a very small high school," says Aller, 19, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa."When I saw UConn, I knew it was the place. I just knew that I wanted to come here."

The Presidential Scholar discovered the University when flipping through the pages of a college guide book. Once here, she never looked back.

"I was ready to go! It took me three days to settle in and then I wanted to get going and start doing things," she says."I like it a lot here. I have been challenged academically and I like everything else, including the people and the dorm life. The teachers all seem to want the best for their students."

In her first year, she participated in one of the new courses being offered under the First-Year Experience Program, the university learning skills seminar taught by Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Instruction Judith Meyer.

"The course was really beneficial," Aller says."We learned a lot. I have recommended taking the class to a lot of people because I think everyone can learn from it."

Meyer remembers Aller very well.

"'Stupendous Sarah' was how she described herself on the first day of the course in response to my challenge to come up with an alliterative adjective. And she does epitomize what our scholarship students bring to the University - intelligence, active involvement in the life of the University, and challenges to our other students. Sarah's new friends took a road trip with her to Iowa last May, a learning experience none of them would have had if Sarah hadn't chosen UConn."

Aller has been invited to join the honors program, but has decided to wait until she declares a major. She is leaning towards communications and is happy to be taking a journalism course next semester. Aller, who was editor of the Regis High School's newspaper during her senior year, also plans to begin writing for The Daily Campus soon.

She has been primarily active with the College Democrats and as a lector for St. Thomas Aquinas Church. She says she has had no problem making many friends here.

"My friends ask me all kinds of questions about Iowa. 'Is it like Children of the Corn?'Actually, it does look like that! The three friends of mine who drove home with me last spring were so amazed at how different it is there and how beautiful," Aller says.

This spring, a few of her friends will be participating in the 18-hour road trip to Iowa once again. Aller says living here has confirmed her previous ideas about the Northeast - it has more energy than her laid-back hometown.

"The best part of being here is that everything is so close. Boston and New York City are close at hand," she says."There is so much out here to do and see in only a few hours."

The cheery Aller isn't homesick a bit.

"When you're far away from your family and home," she says, "it makes you appreciate them more."

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich