She graduated from Orem High School in 2007 and was admitted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study economics. Sarah’s combination of strong English skills and deep understanding of economic theory led to a job at Harvard where she edited PhD dissertations for graduate students whose second language is English. She deferred graduation for 18 months to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Carlsbad, California before returning to M.I.T and graduating from the Sloan School of Economics in 2012.
Since 2012, she has worked for the Brattle Group of economic consultants in Cambridge, MA as a specialist in decoding complex data systems to provide analysis of the economic aspect of legal strategies in order to prepare expert witnesses to testify in court. Her clients have included the US Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service, and numerous corporations involved in antitrust, tax, and big data cases.
Sarah is married to Winston Larson and they are the parents of two daughters. She is active in her church and community in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
While thinking about what I should say today, I began thinking about myself when I went to HOBY, a whole year ago. I was quiet, insecure, and shy. I would never have been able to get up in front of people to say anything. I was shy because I didn’t know who I was or what made me special. I had no reason to believe that I was someone people should or would listen to. But then, I went to HOBY. HOBY completely changed my view of myself. I remember Dave (Olpin) saying, “You are all leaders, every single one of you. It doesn’t matter how or why you are here. All that matters is that you are here.”
At the HOBY conference, I started to realize things about myself. One day we were doing a leadership activity in which we had to imagine we were stranded in a remote place with limited supplies. We then had to rank those supplies in order of their importance to our survival. In this activity, we really had to think; not only about ourselves, but about everyone involved. While doing this activity, I suddenly thought, ‘Wait. We all have to speak up because we all have something to contribute.’ I realized that my ideas and thoughts were vital to our group’s success. I couldn’t just sit back and follow others. Because we all contributed that day, we completed the task successfully.
I also remember being told by many of the counselors at HOBY that we had enormous potential. Before then my potential had been a dormant hope in my mind. But the counselors at HOBY really seemed to believe that we all had the potential to change our school, community, nation and even the world. Even though I didn’t really believe that I could do all that, I began to think maybe, just maybe, they were right.
During this last year of my life, I have tried to meet my enormous potential. And in that process I have achieved things I never believed were possible for me. I began by trying to be kind to every person I met. I wanted them to feel their own dormant potential.
Later, I ran for student government, something I never thought I would do, and I won. Now I have the opportunity to improve my school.
I was elected mayor of Orem’s City Youth Council. In this position I get to plan and organize service projects to beautify and improve my community.
During fall semester, I had an incredible opportunity to serve our nation. I was selected to be one of thirty United States Senate Pages. As a Senate Page, I lived, worked, and went to school in Washington DC. As a Senate page, I worked on the Senate floor every day. I was there to see the legislative process in action. I was there for the Confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts. I attended the hearings for Justice Alito. I learned an incredible amount from my five months on the Senate floor. HOBY prepared me for this amazing experience by inspiring me to get involved in whatever I feel passionate about and to always ask the question that I want answered.
One panel at HOBY prepared me very well for the challenges I faced in Washington DC. As the only Senate page from Utah and the only one of LDS faith, the religious diversity panel taught me to accept others and how to best represent the morals and values of my faith.
Since HOBY I have worked tirelessly to improve myself and to reach my potential. In fact I will be going back to Washington DC, this summer, as one of two Girls Nation senators from Utah. There, I will have the opportunity to use all that I learned in order to function as a senator by writing a bill and passing legislation.
I love HOBY. HOBY is the reason I have had the drive to accomplish all that I have. The magic of HOBY is that it can take an ordinary sophomore in high school and inspire them to reach for the stars. I do believe that this program can change lives because it changed mine. I believe in this program so much that I returned as a junior counselor so that I could give back to the program that has given me so much. I know that I will continue to support HOBY and I hope you will too.
If Sarah Hamilton of Orem wrote an essay on what she did over the summer, chances are no one else would even come close.
As a Utah senatorial delegate in a student program called Girls Nation last month in Washington, D.C., Hamilton, 17, got to meet President George W. Bush.
"They told us we might be going to the White House," Sarah said, and there was a slight chance the group of 96 girls might get a photo with the president. His schedule was booked, particularly with erupting crisis between Israel and Lebanon.
So Sarah and her Girls Nation peers were shocked when they got to spend a 45-minute question-and-answer session with the Commander in Chief. Their presidential time slot: between Bush's meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the finalists from the FOX TV show American Idol.
"It was incredible. I was so impressed with him. I'd never been that impressed with him before," she said. "He was incredibly personable, open and honest and he was a great speaker, one-on-one."
Sarah's trek to Washington began in June when she participated as a representative of Orem High School at Girls State at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, a week-long seminar in self-government and good citizenship. At Girls State, she was elected by the other girls as one of two Utah delegates to form a simulated senate at Girls Nation in Washington, D.C., July 22-29.
"We each wrote and passed bills and formed a government that elected a president," Sarah said of the American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored event.
"I wrote about the Fourth Amendment rights and consent searches."
Sarah, elected to serve in student government at Orem High this year and mayor of the Orem Youth City Council, is no newcomer to the nation's capital.
In 2005, she spent her entire fall semester serving as a page in the U.S. Senate. Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sarah was one of only 30 students selected to rub elbows on the Senate floor with the nation's most powerful legislators. She was present for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts's confirmation hearings, an all-night emergency session for Hurricane Katrina relief funding, and when Sen. Harry Reed, D-Nevada, called for a closed session -- the first in 20 years.
"I would come home for Christmas break and my mom had recorded C-SPAN and I saw myself," Sarah said.
In addition to working full-time as a Senate page, each page attended early morning classes at the U.S. Senate Page School where she received honors as the outstanding student in British literature, political science and mathematics.
"The school was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Sarah said.
Memorable trips during her Girls Nation experience included a stop at the State Department, a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and singing patriotic songs at the National World War II Memorial. Yet her favorite was going with a Senate page friend who was also at Girls Nation to the Lincoln Memorial.
"I really love the Lincoln Memorial at night when you can sit on the steps and can see the lights and the Capitol behind it," Sarah said.
She's now busy writing essays for college applications for her next goal: Harvard University. Sarah plans to major in math before attending law school.
Carolyn Hamilton, Sarah's mother, also participated in Girls State as a teen and is the chairwoman of the math department at Utah Valley State College. She said her daughter is a quick learner, a compassionate leader and tenacious about realizing her goals.
"When I think back on high school, if I only knew then what I know now, I could have achieved anything," she said. "Sarah's already figured that out. She's figured out to be kind to others instead of competitive." The oldest of six, Sarah said her parents have always underscored the importance of education.
"I'm always pushing myself to do better," she said. "I always try to take the hardest classes, ones I like, and ones that will push me, but having a math professor for a mom helps too."
This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page A1.