Sarasota Serulneck '21: The freedom to achieve anything

Sarasota Serulneck '21

Sarasota Serulneck '21 (Sid Rich)

History and Politics, Law and Social Thought

While growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sarasota ’21 (Sid Rich) danced her way through school and dreamed of being a lawyer. When a good friend, who happened to also be the valedictorian in the class above her, decided to go to Rice, she thought she needed to take a look at the research university in the heart of Houston.

“I seriously began to consider Rice as an option when the Program in Jewish Studies paid for me to attend Owl Days,” Sarasota says. “The vibe on campus was magical and so unique — I was a goner. There was no way I was going to go anywhere else.”

However, Sarasota and her family still needed to crunch some numbers. Soon after visiting campus, her family all sat at the kitchen table and hoped that after their calculations Rice would still be a viable option. “At the end, there was the ‘value school,’ the prestigious school we would never be able to afford, and then there was Rice — the perfect combination of what I wanted: a top school where I could achieve anything and become the person I wanted to be. And on top of that, they offered me a really generous scholarship.”

There aren’t enough words for me to express how meaningful it is to know that there are people out there, no matter their connection to Rice, who have chosen to support my education. — Sarasota ’21

Over the past two years, Sarasota has taken full advantage of the opportunities available to her at Rice by getting involved on campus as a Beer Bike coordinator, chair of the Social Committee for Sid Richardson, co-chair on the Student Admissions Council, tour guide for the Office of Admission and member of Rice Dance Theater.

“The fact that I am able to be involved in so many areas on campus is just a testament to how much scholarship can impact a person’s life,” she notes. “It means freedom — more freedom for me to enjoy my time on campus without heavy financial burdens weighing on me and on my family.”

This sense of freedom led Sarasota to pursue a prestigious and highly sought-after internship in the development office of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., this summer. “I know that having Rice behind my name served me really well during the application process,” Sarasota says.

To push herself even more, Sarasota plans on networking with the general counsel’s office at the Kennedy Center to get career advice about the intersection of law and the arts. “I’ve had a passion for dance and the arts my whole life, and I always knew that I wanted to be a lawyer someday,” she remarks. “Through my internship, I can see a whole career path in copyright law and entertainment law, and it really excites me. It just confirms for me that with my Rice education, I can do anything.”

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