HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Sara B.T. Thiel

Meet Sara B.T. Thiel, associate editor for Built In's Expert Contributor Network.

As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Sara consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. She joined the company in 2021, having previously managed adult education programs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater from 2018-2021. Currently, she manages and develops content for Built In’s Tech A-Z. Dr. Thiel holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois.

Describe Humanities Without Walls in 1-2 sentences. 

Headshot of Sara B.T. Thiel
Sara B.T. Thiel

HWW is a diverse, supportive community of incredibly smart people who are all, like you, incredibly curious about the world. It’s a community of individuals who are all in search of fulfilling and sustainable ways to balance their professional life with their personal life.

What is one thing you learned at the HWW workshop that impacted your life?

I never heard of informational interviews prior to my time in the HWW workshop. This idea — reaching out to folks with careers I admired and asking them about their professional journey — was a totally foreign concept to me. In academia, we’re trained to be deferential to our professors. Some are conditioned to grovel. In my experience, non-ac professionals are much easier to approach.

What advice do you have for workshop participants?

Like any other professional development opportunity, the real value in this workshop is the relationships you can build with your fellow participants, the presenters, and anyone else with whom you can engage. Stay open to new people, new ideas, and new ways of thinking about yourself as a professional. Academia can be competitive and isolating; HWW is a team sport.

What was the most memorable part of the HWW workshop?

I distinctly remember walking away feeling empowered to choose my own path and make my own rules about my professional future. Also, I began to recognize that my professional future was only part of my capital-F Future.