Sarah Noonan (Class of 2022)

a photo of Sarah Noonan

  • Senior majoring in American Studies and Political Science
  • Minor in Geography
  • From Northbrook, IL
  • Skates for Miami’s RedHawks Women Synchronized Skating Team, where she is currently team co-captain
  • Studied abroad in Luxembourg (summer 2019); undergraduate assistant for POL 241 (American Political System)
  • Figure skating coach for the Goggin Ice Center in the “Learn to Skate” program, private lesson coach for individual students, and coach for the Miami Skating Academy Synchronized Skating Teams
"You should stay on top of your schoolwork. You’re never going to succeed if you’re not putting in the most effort that you can. If you put your best in, you’re going to get the best out. "

Why Miami?

"When I was nine, my synchronized skating team came to Oxford, Ohio for a competition, and I saw Miami’s team and just fell in love with it. When I got back home, I made it my goal to make the team, and I put it on my wall—on a little Post-It Note—and I did it!

"On top of that, I fell in love with the Oxford campus too on that first visit. I applied Early Decision and never really had a second thought about it. "

Best Miami Experiences

Sarah Noonan's official portrait shot for the Women Synchronized Skating Team.

"Freshman year, pre-pandemic, I spent a lot of time studying in Armstrong Student Center, and I loved being surrounded by my teammates. We all would get a table with whoever was free at that time, and we’d study together in the daytime instead of heading back to our dorms between classes and practice. We also had a lot of athletic-based events like awards ceremonies at Shriver, so it’s really nice to get to mingle with all the other Miami athletes because we all have such different lifestyles and interests.

"US Figure Skating selects a few teams from around the country to represent Team USA at different international competitions in Europe each season. In order to be selected each team has to qualify with a minimum score, and then a selection committee decides where to send the team. I’ve been a member of Team USA since my junior year of high school in 2016. In the past two seasons with Miami, I've travelled to Croatia, France, and Sweden for international competitions.

"The summer after my freshman year, I studied abroad for seven weeks in Luxembourg, at Miami’s John E. Dolibois European Center campus. I took three courses: Global Forces and Local Diversity, Opera: Passport to Western European Culture, and Economic Perspectives on Inequality.

"I’d already been to Europe a fair number of times, but I really enjoyed going that summer for something completely unrelated to skating and received a very hands-on look at different cultures. Although we were based in Luxembourg, on weekends my group went to France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, and Germany.

"We had a lot of freedom on that trip, and I think going to different cities and seeing how they function was interesting. It was fascinating to see how cities like Paris have been developed and designed after I learned about it in one of my urban geography courses. It was also great to actually walk around the cities and learn more about them firsthand. That’s one thing I didn’t think would strike me to be as memorable as it did!"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"For any career I go into and wherever I go, having an appreciation for world cultures and history will always benefit me. You can have skills in business, but if you don’t have the background cultural and historical knowledge, you won’t become as valuable of an employee. My two majors and minor allow me to specialize in courses based on my interests, and I’m always learning something new.

Sarah Noonan in Venice, Italy.

"Through my Political Science major, I’ve learned how to think more analytically. My interest in political science coming into Miami was based on the roles it plays in everyday life -- not just for political parties, but how politics works and impacts the world. One particularly influential course was POL 241, American Political System, taught by professor Monica Schnieder. Dr. Schneider's teaching style immediately clicked with me, and I've taken multiple other courses with her. In fact, I was an undergraduate assistant for POL 241 and took her courses in Gender Politics & US Policy, US Campaigns & Elections, and now my senior capstone, Political Psychology. She has been one of my biggest supporters both academically and athletically, and I'm really appreciative of her support.

"I also enjoy learning about different cultures that make up America. With my American Studies major I’ve learned about Indigenous and African-American experiences, and it has been really interesting learning about a history that I personally will never experience myself. For example, I took a course, Immigrant America, with professor Walt Vanderbush, where I learned about the economic, political, and cultural influence of immigrant populations in the United States over time.

"Writing skills are probably the biggest thing I’ve gained at Miami. Most, if not all, of my classes in both of my majors are either advanced writing or heavily writing-based, and they are also very interactive with a focus on discussion. This has given me a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone academically. I’ve always been pretty comfortable and confident in classes, but the professors create a welcoming dynamic for these discussions."

Coaching and Joining Synchronized Skating as a RedHawk

"During my senior year of high school, I was an assistant coach for one of my club skating teams. After entering Miami, I took my first year off from coaching to get my feet underneath me and focus on my studies. However, I really missed coaching, so I started coaching young skaters in the “Learn to Skate” program at the Goggin Ice Center and then moved on to giving private lessons. At the end of my junior year I knew I still wanted to coach a synchronized skating team like I had in high school, so when the opportunity to coach a team here at Miami presented itself, I jumped for it!

Sarah Noonan competing along with her teammates.

"I work with the Miami Skating Academy Synchronized Skating Team, which includes girls from all over the Cincinnati area. I began coaching them in August and we’ve created fun and energetic programs for them to compete in various competitions around the midwest. It’s been really nice to be able to share my love and knowledge of synchronized skating with the girls and has provided me with the opportunity to enhance my coaching abilities. Overall, I really enjoy it because it provides me with a way to give back to both the Oxford and synchro communities.

"Skating for Miami has become a bit tough since the pandemic began because our 2020-21 season got cancelled. This made it really hard to stay motivated throughout the whole year because our team practices were cancelled during the Fall Semester. We all practiced on our own everyday, which felt very tedious over time. But then, during the Spring Semester, we were finally able to come together to practice again. Even though we weren’t competing, just practicing together felt great because we all enjoy skating with each other so much.

"I was named team captain at the end of October along with fellow teammate Brittney Rivelli, and this has provided us with the opportunity to hone in on our communication and leadership skills. After training for three months, we just competed in our first competition in Mentor, Ohio on November 5-6 and won by over 30 points! It was an awesome feeling being able to compete again after 20 months off.

"I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've gotten to experience through representing Miami. All of this has taught me to take nothing for granted. It also helped me to reflect more on the fact that if I’m putting in my best, despite these challenges, then I can enjoy the end result that comes out of all our practices and hard work."

Advice to Students

"Be open to learning anything and everything. I feel like that approach has been one of my own strengths because having a growth mentality is one of my personal values. You can never know everything, but you’re always going to be able to keep learning more.

"I would also just say that you should stay on top of your schoolwork. You’re never going to succeed if you’re not putting in the most effort that you can. If you put your best in, you’re going to get the best out."

[November 2021]