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Sarah Williamson to Deliver First In-Person Student Speech at Saturday Commencement

portrait of a woman holding a medallion

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Williamson

When she speaks to her class on Saturday, Sarah Williamson will deliver the first in-person student address to a Boston-area university commencement ceremony since early 2020.  

Architecture student Michael Martinez will be the student speaker for the 1:00 p.m. ceremony on the same day.  

We spoke with Williamson ahead of Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Commencement event about what she is planning, as well as what she remembers about her time at the university and how she is changing an old school bus into a home.  

What attracted you to speaking at this year’s commencement ceremony? 

Sarah Williamson:  
I had spoken at a construction conference before—thanks to Wentworth's CM Club—and I used to be an actress, so I was confident in my ability to speak at the ceremony. Additionally, I wanted to represent my major and students like me who had unique paths at Wentworth, and thank the people who made my experience at Wentworth great. 

As you look back on your time at Wentworth, is there anything you’re particularly proud of? 

I am very proud of my involvement with the Construction Management Club. I have had countless opportunities because of this amazing club, but the most rewarding was last fall. Five other members of the club and I competed in the 2020 ASC Region 1 Commercial Division Competition, and we took first place!  

I remember visiting Wentworth as a prospective student and seeing all of the plaques the school has received in that competition over the years and being impressed with the CM program because of that. So, to come full circle and have my name now on one of those plaques is an achievement that means a lot. 

Where did you complete your co-ops? Any memories of those experiences? 

Because I'm a transfer student and was off-track for my time at Wentworth, I actually completed five co-ops. My first, third and fifth were done with Cianbro Corporation in Maine, my home state. My second was with Cranshaw Construction in their estimating and pre-construction department. My fourth was on tenant improvement projects in the Silicon Valley area of California, with Novo Construction. All were quite enjoyable and I certainly learned a lot from each experience.  

I think my favorite project was during my third co-op (and second with Cianbro) because it was a ground-up construction project, and I was able to spend a lot of time in the field. The level of responsibility I had in the office and out on the job site really helped me grow as a person and in my career. I also had a great team, including fellow Wentworth alumnus Spencer Seiferth, who made me feel valued and pushed me to learn as much as I could. 

What advice do you have for incoming students about to attend Wentworth for the first time in the fall? 

My biggest advice is to ensure they are getting what they want out of their experience and to make the most of it. For me, I transferred to Wentworth for that reason. I was not challenged at my previous school, so I made the change and came to Wentworth for a stronger academic program.  

I also took all the opportunities I could to get involved on campus and pursue my interests. That meant joining the CM Club, participating in COF theater and traveling during as many breaks as I could.  

I also did co-ops that gave me good experiences and that I could learn a lot from. The interests and goals of all students are different, but as long as students are using the resources available to them here, they can be successful. 

What are your plans for right after graduation?

This summer I will be converting a school bus into an off-grid full-time home for myself. This kind of project is known as a “skoolie conversion” and the end result is similar to both an RV and a tiny house. This project will enable me to achieve my long-term goal of working on commercial construction projects anywhere in the country. I plan to work primarily as a project manager, but will see where my career takes me, especially as the industry evolves over the years. 

You can follow along with Williamson’s skoolie conversion on Instagram @rosiesconstruction.