Feature: Sarah Onken

Sarah OnkenA double major in Politics and Mathematics, Sarah Onken is a senior at Hillsdale College. I was truly blessed to have her as a Student Mentor my freshman year; she was so encouraging and helpful, often sending me emails or leaving notes in my mailbox that always brightened my day. Now Sarah is one of the Resident Assistants in my dorm, and her room is just a couple doors down from mine!

Why I came to Hillsdale: When I was a senior in high school, I attended a seminar on the U.S. Constitution. It was several sessions of classes for anyone willing to participate in my community, and we went through the text and history of our nation’s founding documents. I already had a general interest in politics, but attending these classes fascinated me and hinted to me that I should probably pursue political studies in college. I had no idea where I should apply to college. I wanted an institution that was academically rigorous, that would stretch and challenge me, and that was at least semi-decent morally—but I didn’t know if such an institution existed. At the close of the seminar, I asked the instructor (a former congressman) where I should go to school. Without a pause, he said, “Hillsdale College.” I had never heard of Hillsdale before. I went home, looked up Hillsdale’s website, found out it was in Michigan (only one state away!), and was immediately intrigued. Here was this institution of higher education that seriously endeavored to study, evaluate, and uphold the Western tradition, mandated a core curriculum, and recognized the relationship between principles and politics. Hillsdale College was the only college to which I applied. Thanks be to God that they let me in.

Campus involvement: I’m a Resident Assistant in Whitley dormitory, George Washington Fellow, President of Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honorary), and Vice President of Kappa Mu Epsilon (the mathematics honorary). I also teach Sunday School to first and second grade students at my church, which I treasure.

Career aspirations: I want to be a professor of political philosophy. In my wildest dreams, I would come back and teach at Hillsdale. But I would be perfectly content with teaching at another liberal arts institution, and especially content if my students—no matter where I am—have the earnest desire to become more educated human beings.

Post-graduation plans: Graduate school is the plan. Where graduate school will happen is still a mystery, but hopefully those details will be finalized soon. I cannot wait to continue my education. It’s exciting to think that my job in life will be to continue to learn and educate others. I’m in disbelief over that.

Hobbies: I love to cook, bake, and watch Food Network when I have some free time. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert to make. I also enjoy crafting when I have the time, making wall hangings, picture collages, and other Pinterest-y things.

A favorite work of literature: One of my favorite works of mathematical literature (if we could identify such a genre) is G. H. Hardy’s Mathematician’s Apology. Hardy gives a very lucid account of the beauty of mathematics and why it should be pursued for its own sake rather than simply for its applications. It reads like a novel.




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