UNA alumna remembered as supportive, caring

Alumna Sarah Davis, 23, died March 18, though her memory is preserved by those who knew her. “Davis was a passionate, hardworking and caring student,” said Entertainment Industry Instructor Janna Malone. “She had a demanding job outside of the classroom, commuted from Lawrenceburg (Tennessee) and managed to balance work and school very well. She was well-liked and respected by her peers as well as the faculty of our department.”

by Editor-in-Chief Anna Grace Usery

Students and faculty are in unison when they hear alumna Sarah Davis’s name: she was a pleasure to be around.

Davis, a Lawrenceburg native, died March 18. UNA Police discovered her body in the on-campus parking deck shortly after midnight.

Lisa Darnell, assistant professor of Communications, said Davis carried a wonderful sense of humor that radiated in the classroom setting.

“I loved Sarah,” she said. “I was crushed when I heard of her death.”

Darnell said Davis had epilepsy, a medical condition in which the person has seizures. She said Davis used her knowledge and understanding of the condition to promote awareness and support in her blog “Seizing Sarah.”

Davis said on her blog she “wanted for people with epilepsy to have a support system of friends, family and coworkers who understand how to deal with seizures.”

“I’ve never let seizures stop me from accomplishing everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Davis said on her blog. “The purpose of ‘Seizing the Day’ is to inform those with epilepsy and their loved ones about seizures and how to deal with them.”

Darnell said Davis went above and beyond as a student.

“She didn’t give me the right answer,” she said. “She gave me the real answer.”

Assistant Professor of Communication Patricia Sanders described Davis as a “spark” in her Media Convergence class.

“I told her one day, ‘you have a light about you,’ and she really did,” Sanders said.

Darnell said her personality was anything but cookie cutter.

“She had a wonderful way of looking at the world,” she said.

Sanders said Davis’s creative nature and her willingness to give good feedback to others in the classroom are what stood out.

Friend Erica Oman, a senior, described Davis as “quirky” and “outgoing” in the psychology classes they took together. When Oman’s external problems were hard to get through, she said she went straight to Davis for advice.

“I felt like she would really internalize and help me get through stuff,” she said. “She was a great listener.”

Oman said she is saddened such a precious life was cut short.

“I’m so sad this happened because I think she was on her way to being a counselor,” she said. “It’s really sad she won’t be in that field — she could have really changed a lot of lives, just like she did mine.”

Aside from the Communications and Psychology departments, Davis made an impact on the Entertainment Industry Department as well.

Janna Malone, instructor of entertainment industry, said the entire department is saddened to hear the loss of such a sweet person. Malone was Davis’s adviser when she was an entertainment industry major.

“Davis was a passionate, hardworking and caring student,” she said. “She had a demanding job outside of the classroom, commuted from Lawrenceburg and managed to balance work and school very well. She was well-liked and respected by her peers as well as the faculty of our department.”

Director of Student Counseling Services Lynne Martin said she encourages all students affected by Davis’s death to reach out. Students who pay the Student Health Fee are covered and there are no additional charges for counseling services.

“If students are calling in response to Sarah, we will get them in as soon as possible — preferably that day,” Martin said.

Interim UNA Police Chief Mark Parker said university police are investigating the cause of death alongside the Florence Police Department, however he suspects Davis “may have suffered a medical incident.”