February Nugent Nugget: Sarah Zaccagnio

29 Jan

Sarah Zaccagnio has been recognized by her peers as February’s Nugent Nugget (Employee of the Month)!


Q&A With Sarah

1. What type of characteristics/habits do you believe are necessary to be a successful ASA employee?

The most obvious is being compassionate and understanding, because it requires an open mind and a listening ear to truly make the most out of interactions and days. Putting others’ needs first comes second nature to all the Peer Mentors and advisors that devote their time to student success. Excitement and support when students tell good news is always required, and no judgment is necessary when students share not-so-good news.

2. How has working in ASA helped you become a better student and/or person in general?                      

I really don’t think I would be the same person if I had not spent my time working with freshmen and other Peer Mentors for the last 3 years. I have learned to work with a wide range of students. Not every student has the same needs, and it can be challenging but rewarding to figure out how to best connect with someone. I joke with friends that one of my skills is “to have a 30 minute conversation with someone,” because although it comes easy to all of us in Nugent, it really is something worthy of recognition as every interaction is different. I have learned the balance between being professional but approachable, how to be assertive, and I have gained confidence in my leadership and presentation skills. I feel confident in that I manage my time between my multiple commitments well enough to the point of still being able to give my students 100%, even on days that are not necessarily going my way. The best way to take care of others, which I will continue to do as a Nurse, is to first take care of yourself. I have also learned that you never know what someone is going through, and everyone is struggling with something. Some of my happiest, most outgoing students have told me that they struggle with depression. If they had not told me, I never would’ve known. I believe that vulnerability is the best way to open yourself to new experiences and ideas and to grow as an individual.

3. What does receiving this distinction mean to you?

To be recognized for something that I’m so proud of doing lets other people know how hard I have worked to help others. It really has been the central part to my experience at the U of A. My favorite moments are when students let me know how much I have helped them, when I see them around campus (I see at least 1 of the 70+ students I have been assigned to most days), and when they tell me they miss our one-on-ones and workshops. To know that I have made a difference in others’ lives, and that my coworkers recognized my dedication to student success really means a lot to me. Nugent has been my campus home, and I am so thankful for the chance to have gotten to know all of the staff members housed down in the basement and make life long friendships with my coworkers.


“Sarah is an ASA grandma. This is because many of the students she has interacted with when they were freshmen have gone on to work for ASA and have become Peer Mentors themselves. There are currently about five people who she has mentored who are now mentors themselves, myself included. This shows that she is extremely effective at what she does, which is spread ASA’s mission and keep students successfully navigating through college. She is easily one of the most caring people on this campus, which is good being that she wants to be a nurse! Sarah has been involved with this program her entire college career! Her first year she went through the program herself, and the other three she has spent giving back to the program which she learned so much from. Sarah completely deserves this recognition, 100%. Her hard work and efforts should be acknowledged before she finishes college this May.”  -Julian Cardenas

“Anyone who has the privilege of knowing Sarah Christine Zaccagnio knows what a derpy, wonderful, and warmhearted person she is. She’s dealt with a lot the past few years, but has always kept a sunny outlook on life. No matter her situation or how bad her day is going, Sarah never stops thinking and caring about people. Even when she was lying in bed practically dying of mono, she still managed to text me good luck on all my o-chem exams. Sarah is the type of person who will leave a Taco Bell Bacon Potato Griller in the fridge for you because she thought her music might have kept you up the night before. She is the best roommate, one of my best friends, and an amazing peer mentor. I look up to her and I know her students do as well. Sarah Zaccagnio is a top notch Nugget.”  -Kaelyn Garner

“Sarah. ZCag. ASA Grandma. Best Peer Mentor Ever. She is known by many names because she is legendary and has inspired so many people. She began her ASA journey as a freshman going through the program. Being the benevolent and compassionate person that she is, she decided to pay it forward by becoming a peer mentor herself. Under her tutelage, five (let me repeat: five) of her students went on to work for Nugent based programs. Sarah is a wonderful person to work with, she greets everyone with a smile and is always super open to helping others come up with ideas for workshops or one on ones. She will be graduating this May and we just want to send her off in style. She’s not just a gold nugget, she’s a Nugent Nugget!” -Alicia Archaga


Sarah and her students Bearing Down



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