A Moab, Utah native, it’s not surprising that Sam has put his passion for the outdoors into action – an Environmental Studies major and a French minor, Sam will also graduate with an honors degree from Westminster’s Honors Program.
Sam didn’t wait until after graduation to gain experience in his field - in 2010, he worked as a Salt Lake County Open Space Program Summer Intern, continuing on to receive a Gore Summer Research Grant the following year.
When reflecting on his research experience, he explains, “I worked closely with an excellent faculty advisor who asked some tough questions and helped me navigate my way through mountains of information towards my own coherent analysis. The grant allowed me to personalize my education for the first time, and I’ve enjoyed following similar projects that engage me with issues I find important.”
Like many of his peers, Sam also dotingly recalls his memorable experiences with faculty. “Nothing has empowered my desire to learn more than feeling like a peer with my professors rather than a pupil. To be invited into their homes, to talk candidly about mutual interests, or to have them suggest some casual reading you might like all makes you feel like this education has been about becoming your own person and cultivating your own voice. I am very grateful to a few of my professors for that.”
When asked about his own Westminster memories, he finds it difficult to single out a few. “Maybe hiking slot canyons down south with the Outdoor Rec Department, or touring wineries in France on a May term trip—for credit! "What stands out most to me are the classes I had that allowed me to let loose creatively and academically…that gave me the framework to think critically about ideas that I found interesting but also allowed me the freedom to creatively express my responses to those ideas.”
Sam isn’t putting any time to waste after commencement. “After graduation, I’m going to move to the Sierra Nevada’s for the summer. I’ll be living and working in Sequoia National Park as a trailhead ranger—writing hiking permits, educating visitors on the natural resources of the Sierras, helping out on rescues… I’m going to take some time to revel in leading an unorganized life.”