2017 Incoming Grad Series: Sarah Dunne

by Nicole Poletto, Professional Development Peer
Friday, September 22, 2017 8:00 AM

The 2017 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our largest and most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

Even though Sarah Dunne grew up in Ireland, she has always been fascinated with U.S. History. She has an undergraduate degree in History and English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin​ and a Master's in American Studies from the University of Nottingham in England. She will be pursuing a Ph.D. in History at UCSB starting this fall.

Read on to learn more about ​Sarah's research interests and how she is finally fulfilling her dream of attending graduate school ​at UCSB. 


Sarah was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Her parents and teachers encouraged her love of history through museums, American television shows, and old Hollywood films. Her family loves to travel so she visited the U.S. on several occasions as a child. She loved learning about U.S. history by walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, riding on a cable car in San Fransisco, and going to Disney World for the first time. She also spent a considerable amount of time in Montreal, Canada, and believes that traveling so much as a young person ignited her passion for living abroad and researching different cultures.


Sarah has been determined to return to UCSB after she had the privilege of being an EAP (Education Program Abroad) student in 2013-2014. She took classes in History and English, acted as a research assistant, got involved as a volunteer at the RCSGD, performed in the Vagina Monologues, and made cherished lifelong friends. After taking Alice O'Connor's U.S. Health and Poverty class, Professor O'Connor became a mentor to Sarah and encouraged her to apply to UCSB's History graduate program. Sarah is looking forward to the sunshine and walking on the beach, getting involved in theatre and volunteering at UCSB, and attending​ the Santa Barbara Film Festival.



"Interdisciplinary scholarship is very important to me," Sarah said. As a student of US History, she is especially interested in researching gender and cultural history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and how these fields of study interact with labor history and sexual politics. She is particularly interested in how the evolution of images of women in popular culture can provide insight into major social and political realignments in U.S. History. She's interested in this area because she believes that scholarship should give equal weight to the perspectives of women, LGBT people, and people of color so that future students can more fully understand and analyze the rich diversity of the American experience. 



Sarah is an avid reader, occasional poet, and performer. She frequents plays and musicals and dreams of attending Saturday Night Live in New York. She loves food and frequently bakes gluten-free cakes as a stress reliever. She hopes to visit all 50 states by the time she turns 50 and has so far been to 39, visiting U.S. National Parks and Monuments along the way.

Welcome, ​Sarah!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is ​Athith Krishna, an incoming ​student in Electrical & Computer Engineering who can narrate all the James Bond films.