Small Fish, Big Pond

Sarah Root

Sarah Root '14
MA in Global Communications 

I was born and raised in the Silicon Valley, in California, and after years of having AUP on my radar I finally applied to the Master’s of Arts in Global Communications. It was time for me to be a small fish in a big pond. Back home, I'd reached the peak of what I could do in my field, and I knew I wanted to aim higher than that. I wanted to go out there and become a global citizen not just imagine myself as one. In the Bay Area lots of people talk about being worldly when in reality they've never left the bubble that California can be. I didn't want to be that girl. I wanted to expand my horizons. I'm young and eager to see the world - what better time to pack up and move, to take a risk?

Straight out of high school, I wanted to be an elementary teacher. I quickly saw that wasn't for me. I did a BA in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis on research and policy. I'd actually always wanted to get into Communications, but lacked encouragement back home. However, communications always remained in the back of my head. As early as 2009, I knew about AUP. I worked full-time while going to school and I did a two-year Master’s in Child and Adolescent Development at San Jose State. During that time, one of my full-time jobs entailed writing behavioral therapy programs for children with autism. Being a Behavioral Therapist and Program Supervisor were rewarding occupations: one of the kids I worked with wasn't speaking when we started working with him, by the end of it, he could speak.

I wrote programs, yes, but my main priority was training therapists to communicate effectively. I led team meetings which covered how to represent our field. There were a lot of clients, and so a lot of crisis management and a lot of problem-solving. By the second year of my master’s, I knew I had my heart set on going on to study Global Communications. I switched my concentration from research and policy to communication, as it was relevant to my job at the time. I started taking French classes at the local community college and applied to AUP. In the summer of 2013, I took off for Paris, husband in tow, leaving my life in the Silicon Valley behind.

Having a professor like Peter Barnet makes a huge difference: I no longer have to just imagine what a theory may look like when applied, thanks to a professional, I can actually see it in action in class in our group work. - Sarah Root

Since the beginning of the MAGC program, I've noticed that what I was doing in my job, what came naturally to me then, is rooted in the theory I'm learning now. One of the greatest benefits of this program is the fact that we're taught by people who have so much experience in the field. Professor Barnet has had 40 years of hands-on experience with firms such as Y&R, working with clients like Proctor & Gamble. I respect that tremendously. When I did my previous master’s, I was taught theories by many professors who had never applied them in the field. Having a professor like Peter Barnet makes a huge difference: I no longer have to just imagine what a theory may look like when applied, thanks to a professional, I can actually see it in action in class in our group work.

The students in my groups usually vary. We all come from different academic backgrounds and this is a good thing. I have a tendency to be bossy, a tendency to think I'm right. It comes with years of having been a big fish in a small pond, a supervisor, and having an instructor mentality. The people who make up our groups are always very diverse in opinions, and as a student in this environment you quickly learn that no man is an island. It's helpful - even necessary - for someone to say no to you sometimes. As facilitated by Barnet and his course, you realize that no one is infallible, and that in itself teaches you a lot.

I see myself keeping an open mind about the future. Being at AUP and in Paris has changed things for me. I no longer know where I want to end up in the world —I’ll go where opportunities in my career take me. Like Alex Hughes, the General Manager of Y&R Europe, said when he came to speak to the students in my program, you have to be willing to travel, and I definitely am. As for a little piece of home, I created an AUP Bay Area Facebook group before orientation. All the members have kept in touch, meeting up from time to time to touch base on everything from the 49ers to final projects - the best of both my worlds.

Sarah Root

Sarah Root '14
MA in Global Communications 

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    Back home, I'd reached the peak of what I could do in my field, and I knew I wanted to aim higher than that. I wanted to go out there and become a global citizen not just imagine myself as one. Read more...

  • Miguel E Grullon

    A Journey of Growth

    We are a community of complete strangers, coming here knowing no one, yet leaving as if we have travelled the world just by befriending representatives of every corner of our societies. Read more...

  • Ruby Veridiano

    Igniting Social Change in Fashion

    Many of my classes at AUP left me inspired, and confirmed that I was truly on the right path. Read more...

  • Cassandra

    Second Time Lucky

    AUP was my second shot at University. I wanted to continue to meet people from all over the world and study in a more intimate class setting. Read more...

  • Shalise Barnes

    Finally, At Home in the World

    The relationships I’ve had with my professors have progressed into friendships and will allow me an advantage into the job world that I would not have at any other university. Read more...

  • Ryan Blum

    From the Middle East to the City of Light

    When I reflect on my time here at AUP, I think about how much I owe my academic and personal success to the professors and staff. Read more...

  • Emilie Quenensse

    Exploring LGBT Rights

    I am currently completing a 6 month internship working on the OECD’s first project on the LGBT population. This is my dream internship! Read more...

  • Erielle-cropped

    Reconnecting to Russia

    Being among such an international student body at AUP has encouraged me to become fluent in Russian and French so that I may be able to connect with the world on a deeper level. Read more...

  • Kelly Nault

    Between Literature and Psychology

    I use the freedom allowed in literary work and the precision needed in psychology research to make the most of the learning opportunities I have here at AUP. Read more...

  • Sarah Harper-Johnston

    A Passion For Travel

    AUP is a unique community of people from all over the world that have one thing in common – a love for traveling, exploring, and experiencing different cultures in everyday life. Read more...

  • Jean-Baptiste Matton

    From Afghanistan to AUP

    Every morning, when I walk to AUP, I cross the Atlantic Ocean. I'm a French student who has spent the last fifteen years in the French army. Read more... 

  • Picture of Karina Klindtworth in Art Studio

    A Fine Arts Education

    Did you know the chemical formula to make rabbit skin glue? Twenty bucks says you don’t and you need to take this class. It is a whole new level of applied knowledge of art. Read more...

  • Tania Varela

    Major Inspiration

    The courses came with a warning label. The content and the syllabi were meant to challenge the most ambitious of students, and professors made sure we knew that … but in the end, they were all extremely rewarding. Read more...

  • Picture of Alexandra Swies

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    AUP had the international experience and reputation I was looking for. Fashion has always been a passion of mine, but AUP has the perfect program to turn my passion into a career. Read more...

  • Picture of students on a rooftop in Morocco at sunset

    Life Through a Lens

    The kinds of things I was studying in the global communications department and in my minors only fed the fire, getting me more interested in how video worked as a medium. Read more...

  • Lindsay Young

    Empowering Youth

    I decided that I wanted the experience gained through volunteering to be more than just a priority: I wanted it to be my career focus. This year at AUP, I've been able to take some important steps towards making that become a reality. Read more...

  • zeniab3

    Exploring Images, Words and Cultures

    Coming from an Arab background to an English speaking institution, I was worried whether I would be able to succeed in my classes with the language skills I had acquired in my home country, Libya. Read more...

  • Catherina Reuter

    The World is Yours

    AUP brings so many different cultures together that in class discussion you don’t only learn about the readings but the world and different cultures as well. Somehow, I felt like I was starting to close a culture gap. Read more...

  • Jorge France World Spif

    Academic and Artistic Balance

    Paris is a breeding ground for artistic expression, and it wasn’t long before I had established relationships that are now vital to the work that I do. Read more...

  • Perfect_Bilingual_Balance

    Perfect Bilingual Balance

    For people who are bilingual in English and French, the American University of Paris is the perfect balance – you can use English in a university structure and have French as your everyday experience. Read more...

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    Students take advantage of the University’s location to visit the ruins of Roman baths, the sewers through which Hugo’s Jean Valjean escaped and the former locations of palaces and barricades. Read more...

  • Paris Summer School Design Workshop

    The Paris Summer School in Design

    The Paris Summer School in Design at AUP gives students a unique chance to participate in an international teaching–led research workshop on design and performance. Read more...

  • mouse

    Online Privacy: the PRIPARE project

    A woman enters a liquor store. Within seconds, the man behind the counter has figured out her name, where she lives and her birthday. Read more...

  • Shadows

    Warhol's Shadows

    This fall, a landmark exhibit of Warhol’s work is opening at the Musée d’Art Moderne, co-curated by Professor Hervé Vanel. Read more...

  • Jura

    Food and Culture

    Nibbling on a piece of rich, milky, nutty cheese might have more cultural implications than you think. Read more...

  • Varda

    Varda from 4 to 6

    “Marie Regan, c’est Agnès Varda!” Professor Marie Regan had just received a voicemail from reknown filmmaker Agnès Varda and was playing it back to students. Read more...

  • Drawing

    The Language of Drawing

    Tired of studying art through slide projections? Come to AUP and learn from sitting in front of the original works themselves. Read more...

  • Opera Garnier

    Paris Through its Architecture

    What course enables you to discover Paris' rich architectural history while bonding with fellow students? Read more…

  • bouquiniste

    Summer Creative Writing Institute

    The Summer Creative Writing Institute offers students the opportunity to practice writing well-crafted fiction and literary nonfiction under the guidance of highly accomplished writers. Read more...

  • Eagle

    AUP’s webzine “Nature and Cultures”

    Professor Oleg Kobtzeff recently published the first issue of the webzine he created along with AUP colleagues, alumni and students. Read more...

  • Macarons-Workshop

    Macaron and Chocolate Making Workshop

    Each year, students of French Language and Culture of Elementary Level 1 make a visit to the macaron and chocolate making workshop of French patissier Gerard Mulot. Read more...

  • Paris

    Cultural Mapping in Paris

    Associate Professor Stephen Sawyer recently received attention following the results of his research project on Paris. Read more...

  • Naz-Oligarchy

    Billionaires in World Politics

    Professor Hägel has developed a course that combines a research seminar with watchdog activism in order to scrutinize the power of the ultra-wealthy: “billionaireswatch.org”. Read more...

  • Picture of Proust and Beckett Book

    Proust and Beckett

    In “Proust and Beckett: The Art of Failure,” students read a selection of works from both authors, who are undoubtedly two of the twentieth century’s major prose writers, and explore their stories through museums and exhbitions. Read more...

  • Fez

    Fez Practicum

    The Fez practicum takes students to Fez, Morrocco to provide them with training in cross-media platforms and an introduction to the workings of cultural and social life in an unusual and complex historic city. Read more...

  • Picture of student filming

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    Over the course of the semester, the student pairs learn their way around HD cameras, microphones, and the ins and outs of the editing program Final Cut Pro in order to produce two video projects. Read more...

  • Picture of students and visitors in the Louvre

    Les Jeunes ont la Parole

    The program's goal is to enter into dialogue with Louvre visitors around a work of art. The program was conceived to draw youth into what are often perceived as discouragingly daunting walls. Read more...

  • Fashion Journalism

    Fashion Journalism

    The course prepares students to write about various aspects of fashion, ranging from trend forecasting, sustainability, street styles, graphic design and business. Read more...

  • Picture of bookshelf

    Paris Through its Books

    Students take advantage of the University’s location to visit the ruins of Roman baths, the sewers through which Hugo’s Jean Valjean escaped and the former locations of palaces and barricades. Read more...