Sara Hays got her money’s worth out of her UI education, majoring in marketing with a dual minor in Quad people watching and Campustown communication.
”What I look back on most about my time at U of I are the warm fall days on the Quad,” the 2001 Gies College of Business grad and Starbucks market development manager says from San Diego. “That bit when the leaves just started changing and the light turned gold but the chill hadn’t quite taken over the air.
“I usually had my books open but loved to just laze on the grass and people watch. And while I probably should have been studying, it was just as much of an education to me — a girl from a very small and non-diverse farm town — to be infused in and learning from people different than me: from big cities, other countries and other walks of life.
“As a result, it sparked an excitement for travel and culture within me that’s led to my success today in global business and personal adventure.
“I probably have just as many foggy memories from my nights out at Murphy’s, Legends, Kam's and CO's. And while seemingly less productive, those evenings did teach me how to easily strike up conversation with strangers, listen, understand group dynamics and enjoy the moment — equally important but often-underestimated facets of life and business."