SACRA Student Profile: Donna Neiberline, A Surprise, A Lasting Impression


During his last lecture entitled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” the late Dr. Randy Pausch advised, “wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you." Interviewing Donna Neiberline embodies the spirit of these words. The surprise that emerges with time? She is a lover of science, particularly of pathology and microbiology. Donna even enjoys conducting her own science experiments at home. 

Prior to starting SACRA, the only tool Donna had ever used was a screwdriver. “As a woman, learning this trade was something I never imagined, it was something very different for me,” she said. “At first, I was a little nervous, I can be a bit clumsy, but the instructors have great patience teaching the importance of taking your time to steady your hands for the best results. I was surprised just how comfortable I felt with the tools. Our first project was the first thing I’ve ever built in my life.”

Donna likes her classmates and instructors. “I’m also enjoying building a portion of a house, something I would be interested in doing in the future,” says Donna, who relocated here from San Antonio, TX, in 2016. “Moving to Buffalo was a huge weather change, summers here are ideal compared to the ridiculously hot weather there,” she says.

After hours, Donna loves spending time with her three kids. Her strengths? Being trustworthy, patient, a quick learner and having a sense of humor. She credits her brother, Christopher, with being a loving, tremendous mentor. “I learned a lot from him,” she says.

As a newcomer to this area, she has noticed the scores of vacant, rundown homes in low income areas where people are struggling with poverty, mental health, addiction and homelessness. “I would like to use my skills to help teach them to rehab houses, clean up their communities,” said Donna. “Doing so may help them to help themselves and be prideful about what they’ve done in their own neighborhoods.”