Mary Samantha (Sam) English ’14 Isn't Waiting to Give Back
Mary Samantha (Sam) English ’14 may well become a doctor. And if she does, the medical profession will benefit from a bright scientific mind paired with a strong humanistic sensitivity. But the option wouldn’t even exist were it not for the generosity of a Brown alumnus who came before her.
A few years ago, Sam, her mom, and her younger sister moved from Maryland to Rhode Island to support her widowed aunt. Now, all eleven of them—including her aunt’s four children (one married with a child) and Sam’s grandmother— inhabit a sometimes stressful, occasionally chaotic, but always interesting household. “It’s challenging, because there are a lot of different personalities,” remarks Sam. But “I’m really close to my family.” And she and her sister “try to take off as much of the burden and pressure” from their mom as they can.
Already giving back
When she came to Brown, then, it wasn’t surprising that Sam chose to continue doing for others. Last year, she tutored an elderly man in basic computer skills, teaching him to use email when he didn’t think he could. This summer, she took Emergency Medical Training classes—learning how to perform CPR, stanch wounds, and utilize a spine board–and, following the passing of a licensure examination, she’s presently volunteering for Brown Emergency Medical Services. “And,” she says, she’ll “hopefully help people save lives.”
It's true what they say. A scholarship really does change a life.— Sam English ’14
What was surprising, to Sam, was the way her coursework opened up a whole new area of study. She came to College Hill with a definite concentration in mind: neuroscience. But, after taking a class in human development, she found that it calls to her as well. Now—with a probable double-major in her future—she relishes the diversity and the challenge of combining the two disciplines as she pursues a potential career in the healthcare field.
Finding her niche
Her Brown experience has changed more than just her concentration: “I want to see what the world has to offer. Even though I’ve only been here a short time, I’ve found so many areas to explore. I love the diversity of people. You can find your niche, your place in the Brown community. Everyone is non-judgmental; you can be who you want to be. Brown has more than exceeded my expectations.”
“Without my financial aid, I never would have been able to afford Brown,” says Sam. “This has been a huge blessing for me and my whole family. It’s true what they say: a scholarship really does change a life.”
And maybe not hers alone.