Photo of Sarah Adams

GRADUATES: Make Their Mark - Sarah Adams '12

Sarah Adams is a dedicated student, a deep thinker, a serious young woman, in general. So when a cuddly stuffed animal named Bogey came into her life, she did her best to grin and “bear” it.

“When any McKendree student studies abroad, they’re given the school mascot - a little plush Bogey the Bearcat - to carry around and photograph in different settings,” explained the 22-year-old psychology major from New Baden.

Bogey the BearcatNot one to shirk responsibility, Sarah - who spent four months of her junior year studying abroad in Ireland at the University of Limerick - packed Bogey in her suitcase. The little bearcat’s journey - including his near-death experience - was chronicled in Sarah’s “Studying Abroad in Ireland” blog on the University’s website.

“I brought him with me now and then when I went sightseeing,” said the honor student, noting she and little Bogey enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day together in Dublin.

Everything seemed to be going well. Then disaster struck.

“I took Bogey up two stories in this ruin tower near the student village where I was living. I put him on a windowsill to photograph him - and somehow he fell out.

She was relieved to bring him home in one piece. “Luckily, I was able to find him. He landed in this little wooded ditch. If anyone saw me down there looking for him, they probably thought I was a weirdo.”

Bearcat rescues notwithstanding, there is nothing weird about Sarah. A dedicated student known for her keen attention to detail, Sarah, who was homeschooled by her parents before coming to McKendree, is studying the effects of biofeedback on depression for her senior research project.

"I’ve known people who’ve had depression."

“It’s a misunderstood disease. If you have cancer, people are understanding and sympathetic. But if you have depression, people are like, ‘So you’re sad. Get over it.’

“We’re still at the point where the brain is really a mystery in many ways. Centuries ago, we were the same way with broken bones. It used to be, if you broke your arm, you’d have this strange bend in your arm for life.”

Sarah hopes the stigma attached to depression will dissipate as the brain becomes better understood.

"It’s just a matter of time and research."

When she isn’t studying the brain, Sarah is strengthening her body. A second degree black belt, she teaches taekwondo to children at Song Martial Arts in O’Fallon. She also enjoys horseback riding - her other part-time job is working at a horse stable - and she took up fencing while in Ireland.

“Actually, I did a lot better in competition than I did in practice,” she said, noting her four-woman ėpėe (a sword-like weapon) team took second place and received silver medals. “Unfortunately, I don’t have time for it now that I’m back home.”

Sarah’s other interests include viewing and drawing manga, or Japanese comic book style, artwork; reading and writing in Japanese; and volunteering backstage at the Hett.

“Because I was homeschooled until college, I was able to try a lot of different things,” she said, noting Japanese was her high school language. “McKendree has been good for me that way, too. I’ve been able to try a little of everything. I’ve been able to set my own course.”


Ready to Make It McKendree?