HRTS Alum Profile: Sarah Parkin

July 10, 2021

“I wanted to work in human rights or government, not only media communications--now I can expand my options because now I know how to apply my social media and communication strategies specifically in the human rights world.”

Sarah Christine Parkin recently completed her capstone project, a short film called Unseen Survivors, to become a Master of Human Rights Practice. In the caption below the YouTube publication, Sarah wrote, “Despite the narrative that society and media repeat, women are not the only victims of sex trafficking. Unseen Survivors takes a look at the stereotypes that restrict men from the resources they need and how one organization is combatting this problem.” 

As an undergraduate majoring in journalism, Sarah covered human rights issues at Nebraska News Service, an endeavor of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nebraska News Service supplies reports to more than 60 newspapers, television, and radio stations throughout the state. Among many articles, Sarah wrote and supplied photos about youth protesting climate change, immigration issues, and cultural obstacles encountered by students from other countries.

In the spring of 2018, she spent the semester abroad in Granada, Spain, studying Spanish language and history and European politics. Eager to make the most of the opportunity, Sarah visited ten countries, making friends wherever possible. Already focused on human rights issues, Sarah said, in a university blog, “I hope to study human rights and one day work abroad or within the United States and report on human rights abuses.” 

After graduating, Sarah went on to intern as a communications specialist for the ACLU of Nebraska. Her duties included creating social media posts, publishing press releases, creating graphics and photographs, and producing a website for Nebraska’s transgender community called transNebraska.org

Ready to tackle graduate school, Sarah found the Human Rights Practice program in an online search. Intrigued but hesitant about remote learning, she made a call and found herself speaking to the Director of the program, Dr. William Simmons. Dr. Simmons’s humility and sage advice sealed the deal, and Sarah enrolled in the Human Rights Practice graduate program. 

Studies began in January of 2020. We know what happened next. The pandemic lockdown forced everyone to work remotely, but the fully online Human Rights Practice continued as usual. Sarah found the program both challenging and creative. 

Sarah was publishing content for Ranch Hands Rescue part-time when she decided to make the capstone a video documentary about a new program at the Rescue. Unseen Survivors tells of the expansion of animal rescue and counseling services at Ranch Hands Rescue to include an onsite home for male survivors of human trafficking. 

You can watch Unseen Survivors on YouTube.