Since her freshman year of high school, Sarah Lincoln dreamed of becoming a teacher. “My little siblings inspired me to love being around children,” recalls the UVM senior from Hopkinton, Massachusetts. “At age 16, I began taking on babysitting jobs and took my first teaching job at a daycare. I always wanted a career where I could have direct interaction with children every day.”

As an Elementary Education major with dual minors in Special Education and Education for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (ECLD), Sarah looks forward to diving right into the teaching profession after graduation. She recently accepted an elementary school position with Teach for America in San Antonio, Texas. Eventually, she hopes to progress into an educational leadership position involving curriculum development and teacher training in a mentoring role.

Following the completion of three practicums working with varying grade levels in local schools, she is now in the midst of her full-time student teaching internship at Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington.

“These experiences are extremely valuable in helping me learn and grow as a teacher," she says. "My mentors share a wealth of resources and strategies with me. I’ve learned how to plan and collaborate with other teachers, deliver assessments, manage the class, and plan lessons that keep students engaged and meet all student's needs.”

Sarah’s Honors College research project is qualitative case study examining the role of arts integration in the classroom with refugee students. “My hypothesis for this study is that arts integration helps overcome language barriers and provides a way for students to express their cultural identity in the classroom,” she explains. 

For the study, Lincoln gathered data through interviews with teachers and staff members at a local elementary school in Burlington. After recording and transcribing the interviews, she began coding the data according to themes – work that is still in progress. 

“It has been rewarding for me to support Sarah with her thesis project especially as it relates to her growing interest in working with students who have refugee experiences,” says Associate Professor Cynthia Reyes, Sarah’s advisor on the project. “She was eager to combine her love of art and the potential for art as a common language to connect people and ideas. As she took more classes in the ECLD minor, Sarah became interested in the practice of art in classrooms with refugee students. Examining the experiences of art teachers who work with refugee students will be an important contribution during her time at UVM.”

Beyond her academic endeavors, Sarah works as a Resident Advisor and as a student leader in the Cultural Crossroads Learning Community. She also served as peer mentor in the Honors College and for the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion’s Think College program. Her other roles include service on the Academic Integrity Council and as a shift leader for Food Recovery Network at UVM.

Reflecting on her college experience, Sarah emphasizes the importance of relationships with professors and students throughout the UVM community as a crucial factor in her success.

“I've been lucky to have outstanding professors. They are committed to building personal relationships with their students. They hold high expectations for us while offering generous support and flexibility. And my peers are the greatest resource. When we're together, we can share the wealth of resources and strategies we are learning about in our field placements. Our cohort bonds together, works as a team, and advocates for one another.”


Doug Gilman