Undergraduate Student Profile - Alumni
Name: Sara Petry
Hometown: Warwick, RI
Department: Information Technology
Year of Graduation: 2007
Current Position: Production Manager, Online Courses at General Assembly
Why did you choose to enroll at Rensselaer?
Initially I was planning to attend a liberal arts college and major in political science, but I had an AP Calculus teacher in high school who nominated me for for the Rensselaer medal. After visiting, I realized how much student life there was on campus (especially relative to what I thought an engineering school might be like) and the more I thought about it, technology and engineering gave me as much (or, realistically, more) opportunity to make an impact on the world than a career in politics might so I ultimately enrolled there.
What are some benefits of being part of the ITWS Community at Rensselaer?
The biggest benefit for me has always been the people who are a part of the program. I have always felt completely supported both by fellow students & by the faculty and administration (Linda!). That support has extended well beyond my years on campus too - even today, I actively seek advice from members (former and current) of the IT department in a lot of the things I do and work on. The varied types of people in the program mean that you always get lots of different perspectives and you almost always know someone with a helpful background or area of expertise. A side benefit has been that some of my best friends to this day are people who were part of the IT department and everywhere I’ve lived over the years (literally across the entire country), I’ve had a friend to help me get acclimated and become part of the local community.
What would you tell a prospective student about choosing Rensselaer?
In general advice about choosing a college is the same no matter where you go - find the place that will make you feel special, that will bring out your best qualities, and where you can thrive. RPI has such a diverse community of incredibly smart people that you’ll always be able to find a group of students who share your passion but who also totally get what you do academically & professionally (if you like theatre, I highly recommend the RPI Players!). The friends you make at RPI will be friends for life (I promise) and you’ll always have an amazing support system with friends like that.
What are your hobbies/interests/special talents?
I come from a family of teachers and education has always been an interest of mine - ultimately it inspired me to go to grad school after leaving RPI and I’ve been working in education technology ever since. I also have a passion for music, especially folk music, and have been fortunate enough to always live in cities where that scene is vibrant.
List Information about your background and accomplishments in College and Work Experience
- President of IT Student Council
- Secretary of GNH
- Worked for distance ed department at RPI (DotCIO)
- Took an IMLP internship with GE in Atlanta
- Attended Stanford University MA program in Learning, Design and Technology (Graduate School of Education)
- Worked at Apple HQ - prototyping future version of user help/support systems for Mac software
- Wrote MA thesis on adaptive learning engines/algorithms & demoed a prototype at a public expo in Silicon Valley
- Joined early stage edtech startup Knewton as a product manager - built company from 15 to 100 employees over 4 years & developed all kinds of products along the way
- Started my own company focused on building tools to support scientific research-
- Joined General Assembly to lead an effort to extend education programs & brand from in-person learning experience into the online/digital space