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Sara Sakowitz: College Student, CEO & Cancer Researcher

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Sara Sakowitz’s love of science took her beyond textbooks and lab reports. As the 2014 winner of the First Place Grand Award in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, and Google and Ellen DeGeneres’s “Made with Code” prize, Sara is no stranger when it comes to accomplishments. Yet, one of her most prized achievements is her creation of Blue Moon Box, which is a way to get kids involved in science so that one day they can make a difference too. With an incredible desire to learn, Sara is surely full of more ideas and can’t wait to see where her future will take her.

Name: Sara Sakowitz
Age: 20
College: Columbia University
Major: Psychology
Graduation Year: Spring 2018
Twitter:@SaraSakowitz

Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

Sarah Sakowitz: Just over a year ago, I started Blue Moon Box, a monthly science kit subscription service for kids. Blue Moon Box aims to inspire future scientists by making science fun, interactive and accessible– every month, kids across the country receive a box filled with science experiments and creative projects they can complete right on their kitchen table. We launched in the spring of 2014 with a successful Kickstarter campaign, and then we were featured on Good Morning America, where I pitched Blue Moon Box to Shark Tank Investor Kevin O’Leary! What started as a tiny business in my college dorm room quickly went national. To date, we have shipped thousands of Blue Moon Boxes and have subscribers in 42 states – and we’re only getting started. Creating and running my company has been the most incredible experience that I could ever have imagined. Most of all though, I am beyond thrilled that kids across the country are falling in love with science through products I created. Science was a huge part of my childhood, and it gave me the tools to question my world. My dream is that Blue Moon Box can shape the next generation of scientists, innovators and leaders by encouraging kids to fall in love with science, just the way that I did. 

HC: What was the hardest part of creating Blue Moon Box?

SS: When I started Blue Moon Box as a freshman at Columbia, I began without any experience in entrepreneurship. I knew I wanted to transform my idea into a company, but I didn’t know how. But I’m not one to back down from a challenge – and I refused to stop because I was terrified. Instead, I pushed myself to learn everything I could, from online articles to books I found in my neighborhood library. I found some amazing mentors who were willing to help me from the very beginning. And I wasn’t afraid to try things myself – one afternoon last March, I sat in my dorm room and incorporated Blue Moon Box. Not everything went smoothly the first time, but in the process I learned a ton about what it takes to start a company – as well as what I can do, as long as I refuse to give up.    

HC: Why has your participation in CORE been so instrumental in your life?

SS: When I joined CORE (Columbia University’s student entrepreneurship society) as a first-year, I quickly found myself surrounded by an amazing community of entrepreneurial college students--some of the most exciting people I had ever met. Through CORE and Columbia’s fantastic entrepreneurship community, I’ve found mentors, role models and friends, who have encouraged, supported and inspired me. This spring, I became the president of CORE – the first female president this organization has had in its entire 17-year history. And during my tenure, I want to accomplish goals that are personally important to me – most critically, I want to change the perception of who an entrepreneur can be. When college students think about entrepreneurship, they might think about Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, two guys who started tech companies. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg might be the entrepreneurs of the past or present, but they don’t need to be the entrepreneurs of the future. By changing what people think about entrepreneurs, we can encourage individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to solve the challenges they see in the world and become entrepreneurs themselves–re-thinking problems, innovating technologies and finding new solutions that could better our world.

HC: Who in your life most inspires you?

SS: I’m inspired by the strong women I see in the world, from Taylor Swift to Sheryl Sandberg to Hillary Clinton. I feel so lucky to have role models who are facing challenges head-on, changing the perception of women in industry and shattering glass ceilings with every step. Close to home, I’m inspired by my family and friends, who have been incredibly supportive. Whether they were navigating my apartment after I turned it into a temporary warehouse or dealing with my crazy schedule, they have always been there to encourage me.  

HC: What advice do you have for other ambitious collegiettes with a goal/dream?

SS: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’m the first to admit I’ve made mistakes in the past, but I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t made them – I’ve grown from every obstacle I’ve encountered. Dedicate yourself to your goal wholeheartedly – you’ll have to work incredibly hard to make it happen – but even during long days, remember what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Have a purpose. Follow it. And never give up, no matter how hard it is, no matter what people say, no matter what.   

HC: ​What are your top goals and priorities post-graduation?

SS: I’m entering my junior year at Columbia, so I’m still two years away from graduation! Right now, I’m having the most amazing time pursuing a double major in Psychology and German. At Columbia, I’ve found an incredible environment that challenges me to explore different classes, languages and fields – and I only hope to continue that in the future. After college, I would like to pursue graduate degrees in business and cancer biology (in some combination). But most of all, I hope to continue learning at every opportunity, testing my limits and growing as a leader and as an individual.   

HC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

SS: I have two favorite quotes:

“Fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid… Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts… Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” –Taylor Swift  

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” –Jane Goodall

HC: How would you describe yourself in five words?

SS: Hard-working, dedicated, creative, enthusiastic, thoughtful


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