By Sarah Akutagawa

Sarah Akutagawa: A Message of Encouragement for Grad Students in the Pandemic

“Because if the kingdom of God is like yeast that gets worked through the whole dough, then it is activated by kneading, but it rises by resting.” — Sarah Akutagawa

In this special episode of our podcast, Sarah Akutagawa offers her take on a parable to bring a message of encouragement for grad students during this unusual season.

Just before the new academic year began, InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries invited graduate students across the country to join in a webinar entitled "Anxiety and Aspiration: Starting Grad School During a Pandemic." Those who participated in the event explored the complexity of emotions that grad school during a pandemic may bring. Sarah Akutagawa, InterVarsity’s National Director of Diversity and part-time grad student, offered her thoughts from the parable of the yeast and the invitation to consider the relationship between work and rest. Through this excerpt and the image of baking bread, Sarah reminds us that we are not alone in our journey and encourages us to experience the presence of Christ and the kingdom of God in the midst of life as a grad student. We are really grateful to Sarah and Grad and Faculty Ministries for allowing us to share these words of encouragement as many of you start or continue the adventure of graduate school in these strange times.

— Caroline Triscik, podcast host

You can listen on iTunes or at All Shall Be Well: Conversations with Women in the Academy and Beyond. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Links mentioned in this interview:


Photo by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

About the Author

Sarah Akutagawa is based in Santa Cruz, originally from San Francisco, California. She has been working for InterVarsity for 10 years and now serves as the National Director of Diversity after primarily working with international students in Northern California.

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