By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)
Several themes emerge when one is fortunate enough to get to know Sara Colorosa. First, when she is around others, she makes life-long friends. Second, she works nonstop to help others and improve lives. Third, she is wonderfully engaged with her alma mater and is a Life Member of the CSU Alumni Association.
Colorosa is a fourth-generation Colorado native who grew up in Arvada. When exploring schools to attend, CSU was just one option on her list. However, when she came to campus to do a tour, she says, “it felt like home.” She called her parents after the tour and informed them of the great time she had, confessing she bought a CSU sweatshirt. “Well,” they responded, “it is clear where you are going to college!”
Her involvement on campus went well beyond earning an undergraduate and two graduate degrees. While an undergraduate, she worked in the Student Recreation Center office, doing accounting tasks for club sports. She also interned with the men’s hockey team and, when CSU hosted the national tournament, she came back to help with the event. In addition, she helped with other sports, including soccer and shotgun sports. While working on her master’s degree, she became involved with her Ram Network, helping develop programs and activities.
Her professional career began as a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. Next, she worked for 14 years with Annual Giving on campus, followed by working in human resources for the Colorado State Forest Service. In 2018, she left campus and began doing HR work for a company in Greeley.
While working on her Ph.D., she began exploring various opportunities that aligned with her passions ̶ helping people find their path to success. When viewing some Ted Talks, she came upon one by world-renown CSU animal sciences professor, Dr. Temple Grandin, who is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. As Colorosa explains, “she has a brilliant mind but encountered employment issues early in her career.” What Grandin had to say in the Ted Talk “hit home” for Colorosa, as some of her cousins were diagnosed on the spectrum. She was thrilled when Grandin agreed to serve on her Ph.D. committee, which focused on a company, Blue Star Recycle, which hires individuals on the autism spectrum.
She next became involved in the Social Learning Project; its goal is “to make learning more accessible to every employee in an organization.” Interacting with social workers, psychologists, and therapists in that organization led Colorosa to create her own side business, The Engagement Catalyst. Working in the evenings and on weekends, she coaches individuals on the autism spectrum, helping them navigate the social world, find jobs, and communicate effectively.
As if a full-time job plus her own business does not give Colorosa enough to do, she is engaged in a variety of Alumni Association activities, including Rams at the Rockies, CSU at the National Western Stock Show, campus bike tours, and the Beer Pairing. She cites such events as ways to connect with her CSU friends and other alumni, the latter which become “new friends.” She explains that membership in the Alumni Association allows her to “build a life,” one filled with friends who share her love for her alma mater. “CSU,” she declares, “is my family!” And it still feels like home.