Student Profile: Sarah Mecklenburg

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As a senior communications major at Jacksonville University, international student Sarah Mecklenburg always knew what she wanted to do when she got older, but she has had some struggles along the way.

Mecklenburg grew up in Gera, the third-largest city in the German state of Thuringia, where she spent 12 years as a team member of the German national track and field team.

To Mecklenburg, track and field was a big part of her life, having spent four years at a sports boarding school in Germany. However, she was injured with a badly pulled hamstring and could not get back on the track for a year and a half.

“I was recruited for JU through track and field,” Mecklenburg said. “This wasn’t the first time I had this injury, so I spoke with my coach and we decided it was best if I quit.”

Her reasons for coming to the States were for school and running, but Mecklenburg also had to adjust to a big cultural difference.

“I went from rude Germans to super friendly Floridians,” Mecklenburg laughs.

She continued to joke that she never quite understood the whole “hi, how are you” gesture when passing people on the sidewalk.

“I thought people really wanted to know how I was, so I would stop and tell them,” Mecklenburg said. “It wasn’t until they were halfway down the block did I realize they were just being nice.”

Mecklenburg said one of the big things she is still getting used to is the air conditioning in all of the buildings.

“We don’t have A/C’s in Germany, so every time I come back I get sick for like a month at least,” Mecklenburg said.

Although the cultural differences were hard to adjust to, she quickly found a home at JU within the International Student Association, the communications department and residential life.

“I wanted to be involved on campus, so I dove into things that interested me,” Mecklenburg said. “It was a plus that two out of the three organizations pay me.”

This year, Mecklenburg took on the role of manager of Dolphin Channel News. This job recently sent her to Chicago with other students on campus part of the media board.

“I learned a lot while in Chicago,” Mecklenburg said. “I was able to make important contacts with people who can help us make the station better then it already is.”

Although broadcasting was not her first choice track in the communications department, Mecklenburg said she is almost happy that advertising was not available at the time.

“I originally wanted advertising, but it wasn’t offered when I first got here,” Mecklenburg said. “But now I have both tracks so it gives me more options for my future.”

To prepare even further for her future, Mecklenburg participated in two internships this summer. The first being a non-profit organization called New Heights where she produced PSA’s and documentaries to help get the word out to clients.

“I met a lot of cool people while doing this and one of my PSA’s is actually running right now on T.V. 47,” Mecklenburg said.

The other internship was with Iconic Innovations where she held the title of Production Coordinator.

“I basically helped out on set and slatted,” Mecklenburg said. “I also did a production of a wedding video.”

Mecklenburg was proud of her work, continuing to say that one client even used her voice on one of the commercials.

As for the rest of her future, Mecklenburg plans on staying in the states to get her masters degree in either film production or advertising.

After graduating, Mecklenburg said she wants to live in Costa Rica, but eventually make her way back to Germany.

“I would love to edit movie trailers,” Mecklenburg said. “To work with Warner Brothers or Paramount Pictures would be my ultimate dream.”

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