Joining the College in 2017, Sara Eliason serves as the graduate program coordinator for PMB, a broad-reaching position where she supports students, helps with program development and works with offices across the University to advocate for the graduate program. In addition to a multifaceted career, Eliason also has interests in a variety of hobbies and activities, from cross-country skiing to learning Norwegian.
What's something unique about your position?
The breadth of the role. It encompasses student support and advocacy to program development and management to admissions and recruitment to professional development to budgeting and human resources. I get to work with students and colleagues at all levels of the University--from our program, the College, University-wide offices and professional networks.
Plus, each August we bring the incoming PMB graduate students to Itasca Biological Station and Labs for orientation. This is such a nice opportunity for the cohort to connect and kick off their doctoral programs. I love getting to be there, too--getting to know our new students and spending a few days in the Minnesota north woods.
What do you like most about working with graduate students?
Working with graduate students is truly a partnership. While I am a resource and guide for the students as they navigate through their degree programs, they are a guide for me and the PMB program in continuously improving how the program is structured to best support them in attaining their goals. I love that graduate students are vocal and involved and willing to contribute to making the program strong and welcoming for all.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I like to be active--biking, hiking, walking or running with our highly energetic dog, cross-country skiing, volunteering. I enjoy knitting--aiming to perfect mittens this year. Languages are a keen interest of mine, and I work on maintaining a measure of fluency in Norwegian and German. My family is my main focus, though, and I love doing anything with them. Our older daughter attends college in the Netherlands, so time with her is truly precious. I am soaking up our younger daughter's cross-country meets, nordic ski races, orchestra concerts, and evenings at home while I can!
What's something people may not know about working on St. Paul campus?
St. Paul campus certainly is quiet relative to the Minneapolis campus, but nothing beats the green space of the St. Paul Campus. The trees here are gorgeous through all four seasons!