Senior Spotlight: Sarah Beadle


by Ethan Zierke, Staff Reporter

Senior Sarah Beadle has been a leader throughout her undergraduate years, though she said this year she is “experiencing the joy of just being a member of things.”

Beadle is a Kappa Kappa Gamma sister and member of Wesley Service Scholars. In the past, she has been the president and philanthropy chairperson of her sorority, a Simpson Colloquium leader, president of Psychology Club and Student Government Association vice president during her junior year.

“Coming to Simpson I definitely wanted to be involved,” Beadle said. “I was always involved in high school so I wanted to transition that well.”

She said that her involvement in Greek life served as an important vessel for her engagement.

“I found that I have a connection to people in my house that I don’t have with the average person on campus,” Beadle said. “It’s been very interesting to get to know people I wouldn’t have just known otherwise.”

As the philanthropy chairperson for KKG, she initiated “Kappasta,” which is an annual fundraiser. Funds from the October 2015 Kappasta event went to Reading is Fundamental, a charity that provides books for children in need. Beadle also helped to organize her sorority’s participation in national adoption day, car washes and a number of other fundraisers on campus.

“(Greek life) is a way to make sure you have a diverse group around you, yet you have something that you’re sharing as a goal. You want to make your organization better,” said Beadle.

This year, Beadle has shifted her focus from leadership to graduate school.

“I have spent the last month looking and visiting grad schools,” said Beadle. “I got lucky and got into quite a few places so I got to go visit a lot of them.”

Beadle recently accepted an offer to pursue a Ph.D. program in human factors psychology at Clemson University in South Carolina. She also received offers from Kansas State, Florida State and North Carolina State.

Beadle’s success did not come without failure, however.

“One of the biggest challenges I had was learning to fall on my face,” she said. “When I came to college, classes were harder, things were harder, and I had to learn how to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t.”

Beadle quickly learned to take advantage of the resources Simpson had to offer, specifically Beth Beggs, director of Writing Across the Curriculum.

“When I was writing my personal statements or just going through the process of applying to schools, I went to her with, ‘What do I need to be doing for this? How can you help me? Does this even sound right? Tell me I’m not insane,’” Beadle said. “Beth Beggs is a woman who should be worshipped. I think that she is a very underappreciated resource.”

Despite her recent agreement with Clemson University, a graduate program in psychology was not always in the plans for Beadle. She has held a work study position with the psychology department since her freshman year at Simpson, which is when her interest in psychology research was piqued.

“I came here at a really good time for me and my interests,” said Beadle. “My sophomore year, we got the eye tracker set. I actually came to Simpson pre-med, but I learned that there was this whole world of research around that I hadn’t really thought about.”

The SMI Red 500 eye tracking system is the latest addition to Simpson’s Cognitive Neuroscience Research Lab, designed to help students collect data on brain processes based on eye movement.

Beadle began conducting research using the eye tracking system during her second year.

Last summer, Beadle participated in a research program at Iowa State University’s Virtual Reality Applications Center, which she says solidified her decision to pursue a future in psychology.

Beadle looks forward to Clemson, but will miss Simpson’s homey feel.

“I’m nervous about leaving a place where I know a lot of people,” said Beadle. “Going to a place where I am really only in one department at a big university is going to be an interesting transition.”

Reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Beadle said one of the things she will not soon forget is the relationships that she formed with professors.

“They know what I want to do in life and they engage with me about things that aren’t necessarily relevant to my classes,” she said.