“Adjectives equal life,” said Sarah McClenning, senior English major with a minor in journalism. “I love putting lots of adjectives into my writing.”
This fall is McClenning’s third semester at Emporia State but she hopes to graduate this spring. She aspires to be an editor or copy editor.
“I like to fix grammatical errors,” McClenning said. “If I were a professor, I would be the one known as the grammar-nazi.”
Even her teachers can see the passion she has.
“This is the first semester that I’ve had Sarah as a student, but she’s almost always got a smile on her face,” said Thomas Winski, associate professor of English, modern languages and journalism. “I can tell she has a passion for learning—she’ll get that sparkle in her eye when she finds the answer or when something connects.”
Winski said that copy editing is not a highly sought after job.
“She participates every day and seems to stay up-to-date in what we’re talking about in class,” Winski said. “Copy editing is not a glamour job that people really go after.”
Born and raised in Coffeyville, Sarah finds life in Emporia more exciting than at home.
“Out at my parents’ house, everything is so peaceful,” McClenning said. “Here there is always something going on, even if it is just people having pool parties at my apartment complex.”
Growing up in a small town, she spent a lot of time playing video games with her two brothers. Her older brother Sean, 25, is a recent graduate of the University of Kansas. Her younger brother Zach, 17, will graduate high school in May.
“I can’t believe Zach is going to be graduating this year,” McClenning said. “He’s so grown up. I think he should stay small forever.”
McClenning spent a year in the dorms before finding her own apartment this semester. The downside to that is she’s not allowed to have pets in her complex, or she would have brought her orange and white tabby cat Teddy, with her.
At her parents’ house in Coffeyville, she also left behind a calico cat named Bobbie, and an Australian shepherd/border collie mix named Daisy.
“Bobbie was originally named Bob,” McClenning said. “My parents told me I couldn’t give a female cat a boy’s name. I had to prove them wrong.”
McClenning was a member of Phi Theta Kappa at Coffeyville Community College, and was the vice president of the service committee. During her service, she helped clean up a house that had burned down. The remainder of the house was infested with asbestos, broken glass, and rusty nails in a neighborhood frequented by children.
“We got it all cleaned up, and that felt pretty good,” McClenning said.
McClenning also went on a mission trip with a church group to Honduras, where they rebuilt part of a church and cleared large boulders from a field to make a soccer field for the children.
In Emporia, McClenning enjoys visiting local bars, especially on nights when they have live music.
“This last weekend the Dead Idols played at Mulligan’s and it was a lot of fun,” McClenning said. “And I got to see my friend perform.”
McClenning is also a fan of Italian food, playing softball and baseball, and is currently learning how to play the acoustic guitar.
Shawna Berry/The Bulletin