Once a month, I profile alumni from my sorority chapter at the University of Missouri for their blog. When I needed a recent grad about whom to write, I knew Sarah would be perfect: a recent photojournalism major, she was working for a local news website in my hometown in Missouri.
I had first met Sarah when she did an internship here in New York last summer. We chatted a lot online, about living in New York and its differences from the Midwest, and I was happy for her that she found a position in her field so soon after graduation. It was a pleasure to catch up with her a year later and to hear what has been happening to her since she left the east coast.
Note: This website was taken down in 2017. The posts I wrote for the blog are no longer available to link to, so I have included the full text below, removing links where necessary.
Fabulous Alum of the Month: Sarah Flagg
Sarah Flagg ’06 may have graduated last year with degrees in photojournalism and political science, but she’s amazed at how much the campus and Alpha Phi house have changed since she left. She’s happy to see the sorority continue to thrive and improve, like the changes made to the Alpha Phi Honors Lodge this summer, but every visit makes her nostalgic for her own recent days on campus.
Sarah loved tailgating for Mizzou football games, getting ready at the Phi house with her sisters. She reminisces about Sunday morning post-mortems over the dining room table, rehashing whatever happened the night before. She giggles, “Most of the time, we could barely eat because we were laughing so hard.” Being an Alpha Phi and living in the house, spending quality time with her sisters, made Mizzou feel like home.
In her last summer as a Mizzou student, Sarah had the chance to intern at Children’s PressLine in New York, a non-profit organization with the New York Daily News. The organization teaches children how to report and write about issues that affect them; as the Photography Coordinator Intern, Sarah taught a small group of kids, ranging from 8 to 18, the ethics of reporting, how to compose a photo, and the mechanics of taking a picture. She’s proud to say that “by the end of the summer, they were taking great photos that told a story.”
While she was offered a permanent position at the Daily News, Sarah chose to return to her hometown of St. Louis and took a job managing the Mehlville-Oakville Patch, a news website for a small community in the southern suburbs. She works with a staff of 8-10 writers to coordinate coverage on topics ranging from sports to education to op-eds. Sarah relies heavily on people management skills she honed as Alpha Phi VP of Campus Relations, coordinating house Greek Week and Homecoming activities; she remembers, “it taught me how to work with people and motivate them to do things they might not normally want to do (pomping, anyone?).” She also learned how to work under a strict budget, which helps her discern how much she can have covered with the freelance money that’s available each month.
Sarah enjoys the “hyper-local” focus of the website and plans to stay with them for a while. Looking down the road, she hopes to do more photojournalism, perhaps as a photo editor or director; she still craves to tell stories through photographs. She notes, “I’m not really sure what the next five years will look like, but as long as I get to travel and learn, I know I’ll be happy.”
Sarah is still intertwined with the chapter, following their achievements at Greek Week and Homecoming and eager to hear stories of what’s happening on campus. She’s proud to say that “not a day goes by where I don’t talk to an Alpha Phi”: Her roommate is an Alpha Phi she met as a freshman, she plays softball with another, and does yoga with a third. Outside of high school friends, Alpha Phi sisters are her family in St. Louis. She “can’t imagine the last five years without the support of these people in her life” and looks forward to volunteering with the chapter or organizing A Phi functions in St. Louis.
Sarah lives with her roommate and cat Kitty in downtown Kirkwood. She’s addicted to any cooking or Food Network show and often researches cooking techniques online. She loves that in her area, she’s walking distance from ice cream, a farmer’s market in the summer, and nice restaurants. Outside of her food obsession, she lives and dies by the St. Louis Cardinals, even when they’re not playing their best.