Auburn News

Student Spotlight: Sara Rains

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Not many students can say that they’ve traveled to fascinating locations in Fiji, South Africa, Italy, Ecuador and Canada during their time in college. For senior Sara Rains though, traveling to these locations to learn about sustainability, globalization and poverty has shaped her years at Auburn and positively influenced her career trajectory.

Rains, who is double majoring in nutrition and horticulture, has spent her time at Auburn conducting research focusing on effective practices in community development, experiencing study abroad trips and getting involved as the lead intern with the Hunger Solutions Institute.

During her first study abroad trip to Fiji, Rains learned about local customs and the day-to-day struggles of those living in underprivileged conditions.

“It was one of the coolest experiences I’d ever had,” Rains said. “It’s complete cultural immersion and learning to live with a group of people that have a completely different background than me and totally different resources than what I’m used to working with.”

Through her research, Rains has also had the opportunity to work with a local nonprofit to evaluate their service work in Ecuador.

“I’m looking at the beginnings of how they started in Ecuador and moving forward, what decisions did they make, what changes happened, why did they happen and what influences made those changes happen,” Rains said. “That way, it can help better inform their future decisions.”

Just this past year, Rains became a finalist for the prestigious Truman scholarship. Despite the rigorous application and preparation, Rains enjoyed the experience and still keeps in touch with the friends she made through the process.

“It teaches you a lot about yourself,” Rains said. “You have to do a lot of soul searching.”

After graduation, Rains has set her sights on working for a couple of years before returning to school to receive a Master’s in Public Health and eventually a PhD.