Get To Know Sara Ackerson

It’s that time again! This month, Sara Ackerson, a New York native transplanted to various parts of the country, tells us about her journey through higher education and why photography might just be her biggest passion.

Thanks for letting us Get To Know you, Sara! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am the Coordinator of the First Year Seminar program and an academic advisor for PharmD students at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Boston. I also teach two sections of FYS.  I am creative, passionate, and organized in my professional and personal life. I believe in showing up, giving it your best, and being an active participant.  I’m originally from New York, but lived in Oregon for 12 years (and San Francisco for a few there too) and have been in Boston for seven happy years.

We are so happy you’ve ended up in Boston! When did you realize that you could actually have a career within higher education and student affairs?

I found out that you could work in Higher Ed as a career when I was an undergraduate student at Portland State University.  I was an orientation leader and peer advisor for liberal arts students, and as my senior capstone I worked in the advising center with transfer students.   After graduation,  I worked in Student Activities at PSU and in Financial Aid at Lewis and Clark College.  When I moved to Boston a temp agency placed me in the MCPHS Admission office where I quickly moved into the Coordinator of Transfer Admission position.  A few years later a position opened up in the Academic Resource Center Advising Center and I moved offices.  I took over the FYS program about two and a half years ago.  I have been teaching FYS since 2008.  I was a commuter student working full time while completing my Masters at Suffolk University. My favorite part of the program was it’s flexibility with my schedule.  My favorite classes were anything involving diversity and counseling.

Those are such great accomplishments. What has been your most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I think my most memorable moment to date in my career  has been simply being given the opportunity to coordinate the FYS program.  Working with the faculty and peer mentors is truly the highlight of my job.  I enjoy coming up with lesson plans that involve active learning in the classroom, and helping the Peer Mentors develop their leadership skills.  I also have a fabulous mentor relationship with our Associate Dean, which I value greatly.

When you are not working and handling FYS programming and advising, what are you doing?

When I’m not at work, I’m usually always with my dog Coda and my fiancée.  I spend most of the summer at the beach (Nantasket).  I love photography and traveling.  I’m always looking forward to my next trip to Oregon to see my family, especially my nephew.  I’m also a huge Bruins fan and going through hockey withdrawals due to the lockout!  A Friday night without plans would probably result in dinner at the Fat Cat in Quincy (one of our favorites) and watching HGTV on the couch!

Sounds like great ways to spend your free time! Last question – if you weren’t an Academic Advisor, what line of profession do you think you’d be in?

My dream job would probably be a travel or wedding photographer.  I’d love to make a living off of photography alone.  I’d also love to run an art therapy program.

Contact Sara ( for any questions or comments regarding her education or career path!