Identify Illinois Spotlight

Identify Illinois is the DIA-branch of Inclusive Illinois, an organization dedicated to the University's commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Through education, engagement, and excellence, each voice creates the Inclusive Illinois Experience.

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Sarah Hartwell
Women's Basketball

Year: RS Junior

Hometown: Tacoma, Washington; attended Bellarmine Prep HS

 Helped lead her HS track & field team to back-to-back state championships in 2008 and 2009
 Aspires to be an ESPN analyst or a women's basketball coach
 Academic All-Big Ten Honoree
 Started 20 games for the Illini as a redshirt-sophomore


Q: Do you have any brothers and sisters?

A: I have an older brother, Thomas Hartwell, who ran track at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He graduated last spring with a Bachelor's Degree in Business. He is my best friend.

Q: You began your collegiate career at Georgia Tech. What brought you to Illinois?

A: Besides the University of Illinois being a great school, the coaching staff was really welcoming. They were also new to Illinois, when I decided to transfer, so I was excited about being a part of the rebuilding process. They care about the players and believe in player development. I enjoy being a student of the game, and I also wanted to be pushed mentally and physically. Before moving to Washington, I lived in Bolingbrook, IL, for about three years; not to mention, my mom is originally from Joliet, IL. Being closer to family has also been extremely nice.

Q: What is your favorite Illini moment thus far?

A: My favorite Illini moment thus far is beating Seton Hall at home after being down over 20 points in the second half. We didn't plan on digging ourselves in a hole, but it was fun battling back as team to get the W.

Q: What are your thoughts on the upcoming 2014-15 season?

A: I am extremely excited about this upcoming season. Everyone is getting better individually, and we have a variety of weapons in every position. We have three really good freshmen that joined us this year, plus another transfer that will help us right away. There are other players that had to sit out last year due to injury or because of transferring that will also add a lot of value. As a team, we are improving every day and expecting to have a great season.

Q: You were asked by the Communication Department to be a Teaching Assistant (TA) this semester. How did that offer come about and are you enjoying the experience?

A: I was asked to be a TA by Professor Costello, who was my professor for CMN 211 (Business communication). After doing well in the course, he asked if I wanted to be a TA for him in this fall for his CMN 101 class. Before taking his course, I wasn't really interested in speaking in front of people, but he helped me improve my public speaking skills and gave me tips to overcome stage fright. Being a TA is allowing me to continually improve my communication skills and get outside of my comfort zone. I am responsible for taking notes during class and providing feedback to the students on their speeches. I will also occasionally present some material to the class throughout the semester. For example, my upcoming assignment is to do a lecture on visual aids.

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