Student Spotlight: Sarah Kelley

Meet Sarah Kelley! Sarah is pursuing a Masters in Theatre and certificate in Nonprofit Management at Villanova. She graduated with a Bachelors in Theatre and History from Boston College in 2014 and moved to Philadelphia with her boyfriend Jon (Villanova Law JD Candidate ’17, VSB MBA Candidate ’17) to pursue a career in Arts Administration and Academic Theatre. She is originally from Satellite Beach, Florida where she graduated from the International Baccalaureate high school program. She looks forward to continuing her theatre studies this summer in Dublin, Ireland at the Abbey Theatre.


1) What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program (especially your experience with the Nonprofit Management Certificate)?

The most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program for me so far is the real-world experience that the classes provide and emphasize. The MPA is a professional degree and the professors treat us as peers. Every hypothetical situation explored in class has helped me envision my future. For example, in Effective Nonprofit Management I branched away from my theatre background and worked with the Women’s Resource Center in Wayne, PA. Through the project, I met both classmates and professional contacts beyond the arts that will help me extend my job search post-graduation.

2) As a theater student, what made you decide to also take up the Nonprofit Management Certificate? How do you see theater and public administration coming together in your career?

I started the Nonprofit Management certificate along with my Masters in Theatre after spending four years working in theatre administration through my undergraduate theater box office and one year working professionally in Philadelphia in financial management and marketing for the arts. After working for qualified, quality managers in these positions I thought to myself, “I can do this”. My original goal entering Villanova was to come out with a job as an associate in a development or marketing department in the performing arts sector and to work my way up to managing a department at a regional level or even a Broadway theater. After a year in the program, my career plans have shifted toward theatre academia and pedagogy, but even though I am now considering a career in dramaturgy and literary management, marketing and nonprofit skills will hopefully make me a more well-rounded theater staff member and therefore much more likely to get a good job when I leave Villanova and move up quickly!

3) What is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

My favorite thing about the Nova nation is the inclusive and productive attitudes of the students, faculty, and staff. I feel like everywhere I turn I find someone with a smile and an answer to a question I may not have even known I had. Especially as an incoming graduate student, I was nervous about how I would feel walking around campus both during the day and the evening at a primarily undergraduate institution. Over this year, I’ve found myself feeling extremely included in both undergraduate and graduate events and activities and I’ve never felt out of place on campus. I try to keep up with the Wildcat Newswire to see what is going on around Villanova and I love having the option to try new things and keep myself involved in the culture here.

4) Do you have any special talents and/or hobbies?

I love doing yoga and dancing, especially tap. As a teen I danced competitively, but now it is just a hobby for the weekends and whenever I can find a class here and there. I love learning about Irish history and often spend free-time letting my inner nerd out and listening to podcasts about Ireland. I also enjoy playing with my cat which makes me feel like a true graduate student.