Sarah Goldman says that from the moment she arrived at the University of Central Florida, she knew it was the school for her.
Like other freshmen, she was excited to experience independence, live on her own and get a taste of the real world.
Nearly four years later, Goldman has done all of that and more. On Thursday, she’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from UCF’s College of Health and Public Affairs, but what’s truly impressive is the impact she’s had on faculty members and other students at UCF.
Goldman was born with cerebral palsy, and she’s used the experiences she’s faced as a college student with a disability to create a campus dialogue about the biases and challenges facing students like her. After graduation, she’ll continue her advocacy while pursuing a master’s degree in clinical social work at Florida State University.
The master’s degree will allow her to work as a licensed social worker who can counsel others. She hopes to help students transition from high school to post-secondary education and would like to facilitate support groups for teens with physical disabilities.
“In order to have an equal opportunity, I’ve had to fight for social services. I’ve had advocates and case workers assist me to get the services I need and to help me to get to where I am today,” Goldman said. “I’ve also faced a lot of rejection and exclusion as a person with a disability. I’ve been in many situations where I was treated as a minority and stereotyped. Being in these situations helped to broaden my view of the world around me and see how important it is for every person to have equal opportunity.”
“Now I want to use my life experiences to contribute, give back and help others,” she said.
During her time at UCF, Goldman has served as pledge trainer for her sorority, Sigma Phi Lambda, and worked in Student Disability Services as a peer mentor. In addition, she is a student leader in her campus ministry, Cru, and she participates in the Bachelor’s of Social Work Student Association and in the Phi Alpha social work honor society.
Each summer, she serves as a staffer at the Able Trust’s Florida Youth Leadership Forum for high schoolers with disabilities, helping instill hope for the future. Earlier this year, she was appointed to Gov. Scott’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities.
To read more about Goldman, visit the Pegasus story.
Sarah Goldman is scheduled to graduate during UCF’s College of Health and Public Affairs commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the CFE Arena. For details about all of this week’s ceremonies, go to https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-celebrates-graduation-6-ceremonies-may-1-3/.