Nov 09, 2023 | Paola Pinto first generation students Sarah Calabrese, a dedicated Science Ambassador and President of the First to Grad student club on campus is currently immersed in her studies at the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Science in the College of Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System. Originating from Dacula, a small town north of Atlanta, Georgia, Calabrese felt a sense of responsibility toward her education, mainly due to her parents' expectations. "It's been a standard for me and my siblings to go to college," she notes. Her parents didn't have the opportunity to complete their education due to financial reasons, which further motivated her to strive for a brighter future. Calabrese's educational path is supported by a college fund established by her parents, a driving force in her pursuit of higher education. She encountered a rocket model during a high school college fair in one of the booths during her sophomore year. Space wasn't exactly her passion, but she thought it would be worth investigating. Within a week of this encounter, she visited UAH and took a tour, an experience that profoundly influenced her future path. Calabrese's interest in atmospheric science was influenced by her grandfather, who frequently inquired about weather conditions over the phone, particularly while she and her family moved to West Virginia for eleven years. This early fascination with meteorology and her exposure to weather-related information on the Weather Channel fueled her passion. She faces challenges like any other student in her academic journey, occasionally wrestling with coursework, but her determination and positivity to succeed are unmistakable. Calabrese is currently enrolled in data analysis courses and aims to pursue a Master's degree; her primary aspiration is to conduct research at NASA. Her dedication extends beyond academics. Calabrese is actively involved in the support of events within the department and the college. She has also taken a leadership role in establishing the First to Grad club, aspiring to create a supportive community for first-generation college students. Understanding the stress that final exams can bring, Calabrese and her team have actively participated in an upcoming College of Science event on November 16th called "First-Gen Social." They aim to elevate awareness about mental health issues among students. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing the challenges encountered by first-generation students and the need for accessible resources to support their overall well-being. Calabrese's tireless dedication to her education, her advocacy for first-generation students, and her aspiration to delve deeper into atmospheric studies showcase her resilience and determination to build a brighter future for herself while becoming an inspiration to those around her.