Internships helped UA grad define career goals


When you have offers to attend several colleges, in and out of state, what leads you to choose the school that’s right down the road from your hometown?

For Sarah Antonucci, it was all about opportunities.

“The Honors College helped me pick The University of Akron,” says Antonucci, who grew up in Kent and graduated from Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron. “It presented me with so many opportunities to develop my skills, to get involved, to do things I had never done before.

“Deciding that I wanted to go to law school and become an attorney was definitely an evolution,” adds the Buckingham Scholar, who chose political science as a major because it would prepare her for a variety of career directions.

VIDEO: What Sarah says about her Akron Experience

Antonucci’s internships gave her opportunities to be part of a local mayoral campaign, to work for a member of Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, and to be a law clerk for the downtown Akron firm of Roderick Linton Belfance LLP.

She describes her time at the law firm, as “just absolutely phenomenal.” She met women whom she regards as mentors and is grateful for the advice they gave her about law school and law as a career.

Finding her path to help others

“One of the things that I knew that I wanted to do with my life, no matter what, was to help others,” notes Antonucci. “I saw that law was a great way of utilizing my strengths and being able to still help others at the same time.”

Along with the internship opportunities, Antonucci was active in many campus organizations, from the Emerging Leaders and Ambassadors programs in the Honors College to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, where she served as vice president of academic excellence, recruitment chair and president.

Those experiences helped her gain skills — such as managing a workload and working well on a team — that served her well in law school and now as an associate attorney at Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP, where she is focused on business, corporate and commercial litigation.

“I really enjoy working at Calfee,” notes Antonucci. “I appreciate that I’m getting lots of different experiences that are helping me figure out where my interests lie and where my strengths are so that I can be the best attorney I can be in the future, and really represent my clients in the best way.”

Snapshot: Sarah Antonucci

  • B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, with minors in Spanish and international business, earned in 2008; Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, and MBA, earned at Case Western Reserve University.
  • Currently: Associate attorney for Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP in Cleveland.
  • Sarah returned to campus to speak to new students as part of UA's Honors Leadership Summit.

About this series

Incoming Honors College students got their first year here off to an inspiring start when five young alumni returned to speak to them as part of the Honors Leadership Summit. The annual program is hosted by the Institute for Leadership Advancement within the College of Business Administration. The institute, established in 2012 by a $1 million gift from The J.M. Smucker Company, promotes the development of leaders with the unique combination of knowledge, skills and principles needed to make an impact on their organizations early in their careers.

Other speakers in the series:

Capping off the series as keynote speaker was Anthony J. Alexander, president and CEO of FirstEnergy Corporation. He spoke about wise and ethical leadership. He earned accounting and law degrees at UA.

In wide-ranging interviews before their presentations, each graduate talked about the value of his or her UA education. From mentors to motivations, from goal setting to overcoming fear and campus involvement, each shaped an Akron Experience that made them ready for everything that has followed.