Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering
Sara Allen was born in Yakima, WA and moved to the Tri-Cities when she was 13 years old, later moving to Grandview. During this time, she began missing school and experimenting with drugs. At the age of 15, she gave birth to her first child. She tried to continue her education and work toward her high school diploma through Grandview School Districts’ Alternative High School Program however she was ultimately unsuccessful.
She spent the next several years struggling with her addiction. Facing homelessness at the age of 25 after failing a drug test while living in a clean and sober facility in the Tri-Cities, she realized that she needed to make a change. With the support of her mother, she moved to Yakima with her daughter and entered into a secluded treatment program. The rigorous 2.5-year treatment program provided her and her daughter with housing while she mastered different steps to her recovery. When she successfully completed the program, she was given a section 8 voucher, which qualified her for an apartment of her own.
In the fall of 2016, she enrolled at YVC to continue her education. “When I originally came to YVC I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved the idea of helping animals and thought it would be a wonderful career to work at a zoo. However, I had just given birth to my third child and had learned that I was pregnant again. I realized that I needed a program that wouldn’t be as long in length,” stated Allen.
She refocused her goals and began taking courses in YVC’s Engineering program. Starting the program was overwhelming. After surviving her first few quarters and making it onto the president’s list, her confidence began to grow. “YVC has given me such a feeling of empowerment,” she stated. “For most of my life I’ve felt that I wasn’t good enough. I became a typical teenage static- teen mom, drop out, and drug addict. It has been very empowering each quarter when I have succeeded. My life has changed so drastically in the last few years. I now know that I am smart enough to do something with my life,” she continued.
In addition to her coursework, Allen works hard to have a home life and recovery life. She is an active member in Narcotics Anonymous and hopes to begin mentoring teen mom’s through the Young Life program.
She graduates this June with an associate of applied science in civil engineering. She looks forward to walking at commencement with her mom, who has earned an associate of applied science in chemical dependency studies.