Sarah-Jo Lawrence is a hard woman to get a hold of – and for good reason.
The 2008 graduate is now a Presidential Administrative Fellow at GW, and even though she is not spending as much time on the court as she did last year, she is on campus more than ever.
“A lot of people still see me as one of the basketball girls,” Lawrence said. “(Being a fellow) has taught me to go beyond athletics. There are so many other ways to be involved. I love still being here and getting to see what it’s like from an administrative angle. It’s very different once you see it from the other side.”
For the past four years, students, teachers and even the national media have been paying so much attention to her on-court talents that at times she may have been seen more as an athlete-scholar than a scholar-athlete. But with a list of academic accolades and awards too long to print, she has proved time and time again that her success transcends the painted boundary lines on the court.
As a PAF, Lawrence takes graduate classes at GW while working in an administrative capacity for the University. She is earning her master’s degree in tourism administration with a concentration in sports management and working in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
“(Each PAF) has a separate initiative. I’m trying to further athletics and help them out as much as I can,” she said. “The GW Division of Development is trying to fundraise for teams. It’s very new. No one has done what we’re doing, so we’re very excited.”
Lawrence’s latest challenge, which comes as part of her graduate studies, is a marketing initiative for the Washington Wizards in which she must implement a successful campaign to sell $10 College Night tickets on campus.
With studies, administrative work and the Wizards program to juggle, Lawrence said she has little downtime. But as a student-athlete, Lawrence became used to a hectic schedule – and that’s not the only advantage of being a former collegiate athlete.
“Any time you’re in a competitive environment like she was playing college basketball, you learn how to deal with a lot of adversity and a lot of change,” said Joe McKeown, former GW women’s basketball coach. “You’re asked to be put into leadership roles all the time. I think those qualities really help her.”
Peter Konwerski, assistant vice president of Student and Academic Support Services, echoed that sentiment.
“As a former student athlete, she was particularly well-suited to join the PAF,” Konwerski said.
Lawrence, too, credits her basketball career as one reason for her success in Foggy Bottom.
“I don’t think anything will be able to top the four years of experience with my teammates and my coaches. I can remember every individual game,” Lawrence said. “I’m so excited to be a PAF now that my life has taken a totally different turn. But those wins and successes with my teammates will always top the list forever.”