Sarah Lipke ’04: Lifelong Learning, and the Importance of Community

  • Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017
Sarah Lipke ’04, B.S. in Secondary Education/Mathematics.

What I’m doing now:
“I’m in project management for Epic, a software company based in Verona that developsSarah Lipke electronic health records for U.S. and international hospital systems. I’m currently working in our Netherlands office, and my current role as an implementation director means I manage implementation project planning, including scoping and budgeting; guide staffing for the install and long term support; and manage 12-20 person Epic and 50+ person customer teams through project strategy, workflow adoption, system build, testing, and user training."

How I decided on my major:
“I decided to pursue an education degree because I was personally passionate about helping students learn math and feel that math was an accessible skill they could obtain, and that would provide them skills for the future."

“I taught for 4 years before deciding that it wasn’t the right long-term fit for me. I decided to go back to grad school, and received my MBA from Clemson University in 2010."

“After returning to Madison, I was looking for a different career, and had a friend from childhood who worked at Epic. I had heard about Epic’s growth, and was interested in what a career there would offer. I first applied for a position on the training team, which seemed to fit with my past experiences. However, after my first interview, the Epic HR folks had different ideas and recommended me for the project management role. It was definitely the right move for me, and I have found my niche at Epic in a job that challenges me and that I enjoy. No two days are the same, and after 4 years at Epic I’m constantly learning new skills."

Experiences that have guided my path:
"I came to Edgewood College as a transfer student, so didn’t have the traditional campus experience. The community within the Math Department (both professors and students) instilled in me a collaborative attitude that has served me well, especially in my current career. Most jobs are done better with input from others you trust and respect, and having that group of colleagues at Edgewood College really reinforced the importance of community in my individual success."

How a liberal arts education has influenced my outlook:
“My liberal arts education helped me see where my interests lie (outside of my chosen major) and also developed skills and strengths in areas I previously saw as ‘weaknesses.’ I realized through taking a watercolor class that I wasn’t as artistically inept as I had previously thought… The point was that I needed some coaching to understand the basics, but could then run with what I had learned. To this day, my parents and grandparents have the two paintings I completed hanging in their homes, and I’m proud to see them when I visit. I haven’t painted since, but I have taken on opportunities to learn other skills, and my confidence in my ability to do so successfully has grown."

Making the most of your college experience:
“Take a broad range of classes, and don’t settle on a major too early. Take some time to learn about what you find interesting, what excites you, and what doesn’t. When you really enjoy a class (or don’t) do some self-reflection about why – is it the content of the class, the format etc.? Try to learn something about yourself from those experiences.”