Protecting Nature, Preserving Life
A first-year learning community inspires Sara Mortensen (’13) to get involved and
later turns into a career
by Michelle Barber Lyhnakis (MPC ’06)
After she attended a state competition for future problem solvers held at Westminster
while she was in elementary school, Sara Mortensen (’13) knew Westminster was the place for her.
During her first year, she enrolled in a learning community that combined writing with anthropology. Through the course, she was exposed to environmental literature and organizations like the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. “I started to understand environmental issues and made small donations to help those organizations and their causes,” Sara says.
Sarah graduated with a degree in English and thought she’d become a teacher. After taking a long-term substitute-teaching job, she decided it wasn’t for her. She started doing some freelance writing and editing and discovered a talent for marketing. Sara worked as a content marketing and SEO manager for two years, further developing her skills—skills that helped her land her dream job at the Nature Conservancy.
In September 2015, Sara was hired as a digital content marketing specialist at the Nature Conservancy. “I didn’t have as much experience as the other candidates, but my writing samples were really strong,” Sarah says. Her job is to manage web and social-media content for the nonprofit’s western division, which spans from Montana to Nevada.
Sara says her coursework at Westminster prepared her to be a good communicator. “I keep all of my writing textbooks on my desk, and I re- fer to them to put me in the right state of mind for whatever I’m writing. I have different skills and voices.” She’s had opportunities to write blog posts for TreeHugger.com and articles for Etched magazine.
Sara is proud to be part of an organization that does so much to pro- tect our environment. “I’m honored that I’m given the privilege to be the voice for these issues and raise awareness for them,” she says.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.