Participant Stories

Dr. Sarah Ann Reagan

Hazlehurst, MS

As a teenager in rural Mississippi, my friends and family were the center of my universe.  I loved nothing more than hanging out and driving around our small town.  When I was in school, I spent more of my time day-dreaming than learning.  I have vague memories of studying, and I can remember reading only one book during my high school years. I gave little thought as to what I to do after high school.  I knew that I was expected to go to college, but was completely uncertain about what studies or career I should pursue. I recall attending Career Day at school and speaking with a practical nurse, a telephone operator, and a hair dresser. I was under-stimulated and undirected.

Life changed for me, however, when I left home for a liberal arts college.  I embraced philosophy and literature, and ultimately decided to major in foreign languages.  In addition to my time at Tulane, I spent two years at a German university and one semester in what was then the Soviet Union.  I returned to the States and worked as a high school German and Russian teacher. After four years, however, I tired of teaching. While I did not continue teaching, I believe that studying foreign languages was the most practical thing I have ever done.  It opened doors for me in other fields and, more importantly, it opened my eyes to other world views.   
Rooted in that same care and interest that I had for others even in high school, I decided to become a clinical psychologist.  I entered a competitive American Psychology Association-approved program.  I got a PhD and worked as a clinical psychologist for the federal government for about six years.  I opened my own practice in the Washington, DC metro area and enjoyed working with patients for almost thirty years.

The world today looks so different from that of small town Mississippi in the 1950s.  There is a greater access to information, which can sometimes be overwhelming.  There is greater violence in our cities, which is saddening.  And, while we have made some strides in civil rights, I do not think that we have made enough progress.  We are moving forward, but slowly.  My hope is that people will continue to attempt to better understand one another.  We are all in this together!!!!!

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