Sarah Tytler '09

Sarah Tytler '09As a student at Virginia Wesleyan, Sarah Tytler ‘09 majored in international studies and minored in English. Outside of class, she played basketball and dedicated her time to community service. Encouraged by her VWU professors, she joined the Peace Corps in 2009 and spent two years teaching and working in community development in the Kingdom of Tonga. Today, Tytler is pursuing graduate studies in creative writing. She has returned to her home state of New York, where she lives in Ithaca.

How did your time at Virginia Wesleyan University shape the person you are today?

VWU Professor of History Clay Drees and Batten Professor of Political Science Bill Gibson were involved in the Peace Corps and encouraged me to participate. I joined the Peace Corps after graduation to teach and participate in community development on the island of Tonga, which is southeast of Fiji. I taught elementary school children, and I had my mom send my craft supplies so that, after school, the children could come to my house to write, paint and draw. I also participated in a reforestation project, planting mangroves to help protect the island from hurricanes.

What are some of your favorite memories of friends, professors or mentors at VWU?

Mud Games; Poetry conference in Wisconsin; Study abroad in Vietnam with Professor of Philosophy Steven Emmanuel.

How are Wesleyan alumni different from other college graduates?

Wesleyan students are able to grow as academics, which is something you can't do when you're taught by a teacher's assistant. The undergraduate, liberal arts learning experience at Virginia Wesleyan cultivates strength through learning from mistakes. At other institutions, students are expected to be perfect, but VWU teaches you how every experience can help you grow, even mistakes. Professors care, and are not only willing, but are happy, to do anything to help you continue to grow and engage with your work.