Beginning with her first visit, Samantha Easley ’19 was so taken by student life at Dominican that she went to graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC) with a goal of working in higher education.
“I want to work in higher education so I can make sure that the students at the university I hopefully will be working at will feel like they are heard,” Samantha says.
Samantha, who aims to be a Dean of Students, is currently working full-time as a student services advisor at the USC after earning her Master of Education degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs. She hopes the transition is as rewarding as the one when she learned about Dominican at an admissions visit at Johansen High School in Modesto and first stepped onto the San Rafael campus.
“The atmosphere was much different from other college tours. It was immediately welcoming,” Samantha says. “People were excited to see each other and I thought `How cute is this?’ It was definitely more of a feeling of like being home on campus. The sense of community really drew me in.”
Samantha was so impressed that she became a Student Ambassador for four years in the Admissions office. She was team Captain for the last two years.
“I came into this school being kind of shy and not having the best communications skills to talk in front of groups. And now I can give a tour to 45 people easily,” Samantha said with a smile.
Samantha’s commitment to others was evident at Commencement in 2019 when she was named the recipient of the Veritas Cup. It is awarded annually to a graduating senior who has been “a friend of the class.” Veritas means “truth,” and the person chosen for this award is true to self and others. Frequently, those nominated are students who have worked hard for the class, have been inspirational, or have been leaders in their communities.
Samantha was a Psychology major in the School of Liberal Arts and Education with a Leadership Studies and Business double minor in the Barowsky School of Business. During her sophomore year she and Danielle Davis ’19 volunteered to be undergraduate research assistants for assistant psychology professor Dr. Veronica Fruiht in her studies on the power of mentoring relationships. Samantha, a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society, and Danielle presented an abstract and poster from their research at the Western Psychology Association Conference in Portland, Ore. in 2018.
In her time at Dominican as a Student Ambassador, Orientation Leader, and a student government officer, Samantha was supported by staff in Admissions, Student Life, and Paul Raccanello, Dominican’s Dean of Students. Whereas she was admittedly a shy student coming to Dominican, Samantha was prepared to study at USC with an enrollment of around 44,000.
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence from my experience at Dominican to be willing and ready to move onto something different.”
WHAT DID YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT DU?
• Defining moment at Dominican /or memory that will stay with you forever: “Every year, the Office of Admissions throws an end of the year party for the Student Ambassadors, thanking and recognizing the hard work of the senior Ambassadors. This year, it was our turn to be recognized. Listening to the kind words of my colleagues is something that will stay with me forever. I did not realize the impact that not only I had on my team, but the impact they had on me as well. This made me appreciate the position I was lucky to have so much more that I could have ever imagine, and for that, I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”
• Most inspiring professor: “LeeAnn Bartolini is so dedicated to her field and every student she encounters.”
• Best place to study on campus: “Second floor of Edgehill Mansion is decently quiet, but there are still people to socialize with. It also can stay open later than the library.”
• Best place to eat off campus: “Thai Smile and order the yellow coconut curry with a side of rice.”
• Best place to hang out in Marin: “Anywhere in nature. China Camp is very close to campus and is one of the best places to stargaze.”
• Favorite way to spend a weekend in or near Marin: “Hiking Mount Tam to spend time with my closest friends and ending the night with a movie night at one of our apartments.”
• Advice to a new student: “Learn to communicate well with everyone you encounter. Communicating well will get you so far in life. Also get as involved as you can. The opportunities at Dominican are endless.”