Sagan Leggett at Sage Commencement Sagan Leggett’s mother is an elementary school teacher, but when Sagan arrived at Sage as a first-year student the last thing she thought she’d be was a teacher of any kind. Today, she’s in a Ph.D. program with plans to teach at the college level.

What caused this transformation? Sagan says her experience at Sage provided her with just the kind of opportunities she needed to find herself and her true calling. She felt encouraged and inspired to take risks, and get involved. She participated in Habitat for Humanity projects, ran cross-country and track and was a teaching assistant. And along the way, she says, “I gained the confidence to believe I could do whatever I set my mind to do.”

And what she set her mind to do was take the study of biology to the highest level possible. When it came time to apply to Ph.D. programs, she says, “My professors knew everything about me, and could write personal and knowledgeable letters of recommendation. That makes a real difference.” She says she also had the chance to take part in biology research projects at Sage that allowed her a significant hands-on role. “My professors trusted me, because they saw how hard I’d been working.”

While taking part today in doctorate-level research at RPI, in such diverse areas as biofuels and Alzheimer’s disease, Sagan says her college experience has continued to pay dividends. “Some students get discouraged when their experiments don’t work out,” she says. “When that happened at Sage we all worked it out together. I learned that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Once she has her Ph.D., Sagan hopes to continue conducting research while becoming a professor. She says her mother can’t help but smile at how things have turned out.