Features & Perspectives



Name: Sarah Willihnganz

Hometown: Beaver Dam, Wis.

Year in school: Junior

Major: Psychology

Career goal: My career goal is to earn a doctoral degree in counseling psychology and to own my own private practice. I want to work specifically with adopted individuals and their families to help them understand and navigate the unique and complex issues adopted people face, particularly those who were adopted internationally. Adoption is sometimes framed as a fairy tale in which many families believe. However, there is often a clash between who the adopted person is and who the adopted family expects them to be – both may have unrealistic expectations. My hope is to help these individuals and their families view life through a different lens, one that is positive and builds on strengths that will help prepare them for success in family relationships and in life.

Dream job: My dream job would involve both my passion for psychology and my fondness for travel. I would love to work in a cross-cultural capacity, traveling to other countries to learn about how culture influences human behavior across the world. Working with families in crisis and children in orphanages could help me to understand variations in psychological responses to trauma as well as resiliency. That would be the best of both worlds – getting paid to travel and learn!

The No. 1 thing on my bucket list is to experience the diversity of plant and animal species in the Galapagos Islands.

I chose Lakeland because: There are many reasons why I chose Lakeland College over any others. One of the most important reasons for me is that each of the professors here at Lakeland are not only personable and excellent instructors, but they also genuinely care about your success. For example, the first time I toured the campus, I was not planning or expecting to meet with any of the psychology professors. However, one professor went out of her way to talk to me and to answer any questions I had. I am sure she had million other things to do and that she hadn’t been expecting to spend time with me. Even so, we talked for nearly two hours. I could tell this was the place I wanted to be. I have since found that the psychology department isn’t the only place to find super nice professors – they seem to be everywhere here at Lakeland. Another reason I chose Lakeland is that I wanted to be a person and not a number. The smaller-sized campus means that it is easy to remember names and people don’t hesitate to say hello. The students here are also really friendly and, because we all come from different backgrounds and locations, it is great to meet new and interesting people.

Years from now, my favorite Lakeland memory will be: Although I still have another year and a half to make more memories, one memory really sticks out as a favorite right now. What started out as just hanging out in the courtyard by the suites turned into a spontaneous water balloon fight, and ended up with a barrel of water getting dumped on a whole lot of people.