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Sarah Mercer ′08

Choosing a college is a big decision. It helps to know what you’re looking for.

In high school I loved studying and talking about science, especially labs. I also really liked having close relationships with my teachers- being from such a small town, a few of them were even my neighbors. When I visited Rhodes,  biology  Professor Terry Hill talked to me about getting involved in faculty research early in my career. That was very exciting to me, and I chose Rhodes over  several other great schools.

I have never been sorry. I got to work with Professor Hill as a first-year student, and since then, with Professors Darlene Loprete (chemistry) and Mary Miller (biology). I’ve spent every summer here and loved it. It’s been great working in the labs with three professors, being their colleague and getting to know them personally.

I like being in Memphis because it has so much to offer—great places, diversity and amazing food . St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is very generous with  its equipment and I’ve learned a lot from the outstanding doctors there. I have also tutored at two nearby schools, Cypress and Springdale, an experience that has truly opened my eyes.

Most of my friends would probably describe me as oddly nerdy and I’m okay with that.  Even better,  Rhodes is also OK with that. There are, of course, parties to go to and coffee breaks to be had in the library, but everyone really understands if you need to study or be in the lab on a Friday night. The best friends, though, will always make sure you’re having a good time—this is college, after all.

It’s not that I spend all my time in labs or science classes. That’s the great thing about a liberal arts college. I thought I would hate my other courses, but I discovered that political science and international studies are interesting and stimulating.

I always have a set of dominoes with me, and they generally come in handy at the Rat or the Lair. I also love tennis. I played varsity in high school, and intramural here at Rhodes. When my roommates were just starting, I’d play left-handed to cut them a break and make it more fun for all involved.

My professors are helping me find grants to finance graduate school, just as they helped me get a Goldwater Scholarship to help pay for Rhodes. I will miss them and my friends. It has been great to know everybody, but I’m also excited about graduating and getting on with my life.

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