UCF Political Science Alumna Tracks Road to Success

Teresa Lamar SarnoTeresa Lamar-Sarno, ’00, ’03, runs the redevelopment department for the City of Stuart, Florida. Her most recent accomplishment as Community Redevelopment Agency Administrator is the award winning road redesign she directed. The Colorado Avenue Business District Improvement was a 1.2 million dollar project that revitalized a rundown commercial corridor to a revitalized urban area in Stuart. This was accomplished through a grant Lamar-Sarno facilitated, a roadway design that included landscaping and streetscaping that was able to reduce the road from 5 lanes to 2 lanes with a round-a-bout and on-street parking. Lamar-Sarno explained the project had a rough start, but support for the project grew and now over a dozen new businesses have relocated to the area due to the improvements.

Lamar-Sarno graduated with her bachelors and master’s degree in political science from UCF. She explained how her UCF degrees have led her to success through the countless opportunities provided by the University.

Lamar-Sarno explained none of this would be possible without the opportunities provided through UCF. She describes her experience at UCF, her most memorable and rewarding moments on the job and shares advice with current students.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

UCF was my first choice. I wanted a great education in an urban location and an authentic collegiate experience.

How has your UCF degree helped you in your career?

My UCF degrees, bachelors and masters, have helped me along my career. It opened the door to my first position as a planner and I often utilize the experience UCF provided me through internships that have allowed me to open doors to different positions in government.

What is your best UCF memory?

I received the Founder’s Day award and was beyond thrilled to not only be a recipient of this special award but also be featured in the leaflet that other potential students would receive prior to enrolling at UCF.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I interact with the public and a variety of community organizations daily. I enjoy the contact and serving the public in this capacity. My greatest pleasure comes from completing projects, such as a 1.2 million dollar roadway redesign that has revitalized an area that was blighted.

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

When members of the public, friends, and colleagues compliment the work that I do and say that downtown looks great, that makes my job memorable! My most memorable moment is having small businesses come up to me at a meeting and tell me that the reason they relocated to the area was because of the beautification project that I was able to complete.

What piece of advice would you give to current students?

Take advantage of all of the many opportunities that UCF provides. I interned in Washington, D.C., I interned locally, and I studied abroad in Cuba. All of these programs were offered by UCF and all provided me with invaluable experience.

Lamar-Sarno went on to answer some fun questions to give us a feel for her personality.

What is your wallpaper on your phone and/or computer?

My children are wallpapers for my phone and computer.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

At UCF one year I fell down the stairs going up to my class (of course late) with all my books and purse items strewn on the bottom step. Thankfully my classmates helped me get my stuff and get up. It was embarrassing.

What is your favorite quote?

I have lots, but my most recent favorite is, “not my circus, not my monkeys.” For inspiration however, Oprah is always inspirational for me, “Know what spark the light in you, then use that light to illuminate the world.”

What is something most people do not know about you?

I am married to my high school sweetheart.

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