story by Melina Piperis ’22

In 2015, Sarah Mullen left the halls of Marian High School and headed to the University of Iowa to major in microbiology. She is now studying to become a physician in the School of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The four years Mullen spent at Marian helped nurture traits in her character which now embody empowerment and inspire others.

When she first arrived at the University of Iowa, Sarah was on her own, away from the comforts of home and her friends from Marian. She did not know anyone, so she decided to join a sorority. As a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Sarah worked her way up to becoming assistant social chair, scholarship chair and vice president of the sorority. Although focused on her studies, she also spent her free time in undergrad playing recreational soccer, just like she did at Marian. 

While at Iowa, Sarah participated in undergraduate research. She spent three years studying cancer biology, which culminated in her research getting published. This included working in the labs for 10 hours a week, and earning a summer internship at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Sarah graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology. Already accepted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she decided to take a break from school for the year. At this point, she returned to Omaha to work as a scribe for Dr. Peter Piperis at Momenta Pain Care. This included interacting with patients, transcribing medical consultations, and assisting pain care specialists. Sarah also worked for the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. There, she tracked hospitalizations of COVID-19. This gave her an opportunity to apply the knowledge she gained in undergrad to an unprecedented pandemic.

While working kept Sarah busy during her gap year, she also found time to travel. In the fall of 2019, she took a trip to see the west coast, and traveled to Peru the following spring. She spent one week there exploring the tourist areas, and hiked to Machu Picchu and the original Incan trails. She also volunteered with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). While participating with the public health program, Sarah lived with a host family and practiced medical Spanish. She also spent time with other American medical students during her time in Peru. This remarkable experience made a great impact on Sarah and further solidified her interest in medicine and helping others.

Sarah is currently on track to graduate from UNMC in 2024, and she will soon decide what residency program she will enter once she graduates. She is leaning toward  internal medicine, but she is also interested in allergy and immunology, women’s health and pediatrics. Once she chooses a residency, Sarah will be in that program for about four years.

Sarah is grateful for her time at Marian, and how much it prepared her for her professional life. She is especially thankful for the writing skills that Marian provided and she applies them frequently. She also loved taking journalism courses and spending class time with her Network staff. Some of her favorite memories from Marian include sitting in the hallways, reading English literature, and hanging out with friends in the quad and cafeteria. 

One thing that stood out to Sarah at Marian was the importance of branching out. During her high school years, she learned how to make connections with people outside of her friend group. Today, she applies these skills in academic and professional settings. Sarah also stressed the value of encouraging women to enter the science field. She credits the STEM department at Marian for preparing her to explore opportunities in science that eventually led her to pursue a career in medicine.

Sarah Mullen will continue to make Marian proud. She exhibits the values, strength and confidence that is spoken of so often at Marian. Through her continued work at UNMC and her future in the medical field, Sarah is an inspiration to young women who are interested in science.