Wichita State News
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Sarah Anderson, left, and her fiance, Ben Shipman, in Alaska.

World traveler Sarah Anderson lands at WSU

Friday, February 15, 2008

Two questions Sarah Anderson said she gets asked most frequently about living in Alaska are, “Wow really? Is it true that it’s covered in snow year ‘round?” and “Weren’t you cold?”

Anderson, a Wichita State University senior, is one of the few students on campus, if not the only, who can say she has lived as far from Wichita as Anchorage, Alaska and Okinawa, Japan. Anderson’s family moved around frequently because her father was in the Air Force.

Since being born in Riverside, Calif., Anderson has lived in two countries and seven states including Colorado, Arizona, Minnesota and now Kansas. She came to Wichita to be with her fiance, Ben Shipman, whom she plans to marry in the next few years.

Since becoming a Shocker, she has enjoyed Wichita State’s campus and the people.

“There are a lot of great instructors at WSU who deserve recognition for their incredible passion in their fields,” she said. “They really made class fun and full of life, and I was always looking forward to the next class period.”

Anderson said a few of her favorite teachers include Ronald Matson, associate professor and chairman of the sociology department, Hussein Hamdeh, professor of physics, and Richard Spilman, associate professor of English.

Anderson is a lover of math and science, which explains her choice in a major of biology and a minor in chemistry. Beyond school work she considers herself an avid reader, and enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family, friends and her seven pets.

“I love animals. I have three cats, two gerbils, one rabbit and one chinchilla,” she said. “My pets mean a great deal to me.”

During the six months she spent in Alaska, she most enjoyed seeing the northern lights, being blanketed in a record winter snowfall of 111.5 inches and frequently spotting moose in her backyard.

“I love telling people about the places I’ve been,” she said. “I’m so glad I grew up as an Air Force brat and was fortunate enough to travel.”

Transitioning from place to place hasn’t been too difficult for Anderson because she’s done it many times, but the trip from Alaska to Kansas was possibly the most difficult move given it was her first time to travel alone.

When she arrived, she noticed two major differences: a lack of snow and a strong gust of wind.

“Kansas has some of the strangest windstorms I have ever seen, and it seems like it’s always windy here,” Anderson said. “I sure do miss the snowcapped mountains and trees.”

Anderson is planning to complete her bachelor’s degree in biology within the next year and afterward hopes to work as a veterinarian technician.

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Created on Friday, February 15, 2008; Last modified on Friday, February 15, 2008