Looking to the next spotlight series story, we wanted to recognize and appreciate the diverse voices that make up Cohort V of the MSBA-BA program. Sarah Giles Woodward, who hails from Oklahoma and Powhatan, Virginia, is both South Korean and a member of the Osage Nation. She first came to Virginia Tech as an undergraduate student in 2006 studying Apparel, Housing, & Resource Management - Consumer Studies. After the shooting tragedy that occured on campus on April 16th, 2007 she returned home. A couple of years later, she returned to Blacksburg where she met her husband, worked as a database manager for a luxury antiques company, and all the while finished her undergraduate degree.

While completing her undergraduate degree over multiple years, Sarah was able to become highly involved in the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg community in various capacities. She was the President of the Society for Consumer Interests & Professional Development, the Event Coordinator for Native at Virginia Tech, a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), a member of the Virginia Tech Staff Senate, a member of the McComas Staff Leadership Seminar Committee, a member of the Commission on University Support, and many other organizations and initiatives. Most recently, she was awarded the 2020 Pamplin Diversity Excellence Award.

Since 2013 and up until recently, Sarah worked within the Pamplin College of Business as a Graduate Coordinator for a doctoral program which allowed her to return to graduate school and be a part of the MSBA-BA program starting in the summer of 2019. Having the opportunity to work full time and also be a part time student was something that Sarah couldn’t pass up on. Having seen first hand the great successes of past Cohorts and students, she wanted to be a part of the program and also enter the growing field that is business analytics.

Coming into the MSBA-BA program, Sarah knew she was a strong problem-solver, but recognized that she needed to refine her technical skills. In addition, the program allowed her to build a foundation in finance, accounting, and business management. She has gained a deeper understanding of organizational behavior, marketing, and other principles that are "behind the scenes" which separates her from the "number-crunchers”.

In addition to the skills the MSBA-BA program has added to her repertoire, it has also allowed her to land her dream job as an Analyst at Modea, a Blacksburg-based global technology consulting company that specializes in healthcare marketing. Sarah is excited to dive into this new role as graduation is rapidly approaching in the summer of 2021. Her dedication and diverse background has made a lasting impression on the MSBA-BA program and Cohort IV and V.