by LAUREE S. PURCELL
At just 23, Sarah Jacobsen is the Online Marketing Coordinator for James Madison University. She also taught Intro to Computer Graphics during the 2014-15 academic year for JMU’s School of Art, Design and Art History. Her freelance work includes logos and marketing materials for businesses such as U Fit and Ice House Studios.
Sarah’s parents, Lyle and Teri Jacobsen of Dayton, homeschooled her until she completed high school at the age of 16. While living at home, Sarah worked her way through college, paying her own bills. To save on tuition, Sarah attended Blue Ridge Community College before transferring to JMU in 2010. She graduated from JMU debt-free in 2013.
She has had many jobs that have led to her current success, and she has tried to build connections and look for opportunities even when her jobs didn’t seem directly related to graphic design. From age 11, she helped her family clean churches on Saturday mornings. Sentara RMH Wellness Center hired her as a housekeeper at 16 because she had five years of cleaning experience. At the Wellness Center, she went from scrubbing showers to organizing and leading children’s activities as well as working the reception desk.
Sarah joined JMU’s marketing department in 2012 as a student designer. After graduation she stepped into a new role as a part-time Design Assistant and worked on many different projects. For the new JMU Student Success Center, she created interior way-finding signs, a photo mural for the atrium and exterior banners. She also created a custom typeface for the mural that features a James Madison quote in the Forbes Center tunnel. She has worked on layout for Madison Magazine and the employee giving campaign. In her current role, Sarah is working on a redesign of JMU’s homepage and admissions site to make them easily accessible from mobile devices. “My boss, Online Marketing Manager Randy Budnikas, worked for Rosetta Stone and Amazon. I have so much fun working with such a brilliant man. He pushes me in the direction I need to go and then leaves me to do my thing,” said Sarah.
Sarah is an active member of Covenant Presbyterian Church. She is on the leadership team for College and Career Fellowship there and helps facilitate weekly Bible studies while building friendships with college girls.
LAUREE STROUD PURCELL is an editorial consultant and writer for Living.
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