The second from five children from Ricardo and Emilia Lopez, Sara received a private catholic girls only education, going to Colegio Tereseano for elementary and middle school and Colegio Pureza de Maria for high school, both located in Managua Nicaragua. While in grade school, Sara was the best in her class from kinder to 12th grade. Sara was awarded a scholarship from the Mexican Government to study actuary at the Universidad National Autonoma Mexicana, but Sara and her parents decided that it was better for her to study chemical and industrial engineering at the local Universidad Centro Americana (UCA) run by the Jesuit Priests, where Sara graduated in 1975. Overcoming the Decemenber 1972 earthquake in Managua where over 10,000 people died and Roberto Clemente lost his life while bringing help to the victims, Sara worked for a year at Polimeros Centro Americanos Socidad Anonima (POLYCASA) as the Plant Engineer. She also worked at the NABISCO plant as Production Superintendent and the Central Bank of Nicaragua as a technical consultant. In 1978, Sara emigrated to the United States for political reasons when the Sandinista forces (FSLN) were about to overthrow Somoza's Govenment. Sara's two sisters, who were already in the United States, helped her out to get her established, get a job, and get her Masters in Business Administration which she received from the University of San Francisco in 1984. That same year, Sara received her realtor's licence.