Like many first-years, Sage Rosenthal '19 arrived at Brandeis five years ago with only a general sense of her academic interests. 

A career in neurological research seemed promising. But a neuroscience lab course convinced her it wasn’t a good fit.

"I realized it wasn’t something I was passionate about,” Rosenthal said. “It's important to figure out what you like and what you don't like. The environment at Brandeis allowed me to do that.”

When she took the Health: Science, Society and Policy course, American Health Care: Law and Policy, things started to click. The course, taught by a health care attorney, outlined the law’s effects on health care, explored access to care, and examined the role of health insurance. She knew she wanted to learn more.

"It was incredible to me. I was excited to go to class every day," she said. "It shaped where I am today."

Rosenthal double majored in HSSP and psychology and minored in business. HSSP faculty mentors pointed her toward courses to take, and advised her as she started looking for job opportunities during her senior year. After graduation, Rosenthal quickly landed a job as a policy and advocacy associate at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, a Washington, D.C. advocacy group that focuses on improving advanced illness care through policy, education, state and community organizing, and support for family caregivers.

While focused on her studies at Brandeis, Rosenthal also branched out in other ways that helped prepare her professionally. She volunteered for the ONE campaign, which seeks to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. She was a student delegate for ENACT, a national program that engages college students in state legislative change. And she hosted her own weekly music show on WBRS, Brandeis’ student-run radio station.

“Going on the air and not knowing who was out there listening, that wasn’t the type of thing I would have expected to enjoy,” she said. “But I loved having my radio show every week. It became a really important part of my identity.”

She urges first-years to try the new and unexpected.

"Go a little out of your comfort zone, whether that's in clubs, a class, a job, an internship, anything," she said. "If you play it safe, you don't learn more about yourself or all the opportunities you may have."