Senior Spotlight: Britney Samuelson
October 8, 2016
Once a shy person, the thought of speaking up to create her own pathway for success used to seem impossible. Now senior Britney Samuelson has created a major and developed leadership qualities that make her unique to Simpson College.
Samuelson has grown as a person from when she was a freshman. Never did she expect that she would be the president of a sorority or a senator in the Student Government Association.
“I came to Simpson really shy, but wanted to be involved. I am a totally different person than I was when I started, and for the better and prepared,” Samuelson said. “I had no idea this was going to happen.”
“Simpson creates this environment where people can grow and want to grow. I was scared and wondered what would happen to me if I failed, but Simpson is like ‘No, go for it!’ and people will be there to support you along the way.”
Despite wanting to go out of state, it was an easy choice for her to choose Simpson College. Simpson made Samuelson feel like more than a number. Before starting her college career, she said Kedron Bardwell kept in contact with her and he remembered her interests. This helped make her decision easier, and the John C. Culver Center helped her interests.
“I got the Culver Fellowship scholarship, and I have always been passionate about policy. I was a page in the Iowa State Senate, and I wanted to continue this passion of mine, so the Culver Center seemed the best option for me,” Samuelson said.
Her passion led her to create her own path of success at Simpson. Samuelson, with the help of professors Allison Wolf and Carolyn Dallinger, created an interdisciplinary major for social justice.
The major consists a mixture of political science, philosophy, sociology and economics classes. This created a pathway to group all of her passions into one major.
Samuelson is also working on her other majors in applied philosophy and Spanish and a minor in Latin American studies. She has been on either the Dean or President’s list since fall 2013, one of her proudest accomplishments at Simpson.
Samuelson keeps busy within her sorority Delta Delta Delta. She has been a member since her first semester, and she has held many positions including philanthropy chairman, new member educator, vice president of membership and now president.
Tri Delta has given her more than her lifelong friends and sisters, but showed her qualities in herself that didn’t quite shine through before college.
“Tri Delta has helped me become a more selfless person, while also helping me gain confidence in myself and my abilities,” Samuelson said. “This sorority has been a group of women that are constantly empowering me and encouraging me to do more.”
Samuelson continues her leadership and her passion for policy as a senator for her class. Since being elected as a senator in the middle of the last academic year, she has served on the Student Advocacy Committee and on the Student Organization Committee where she helped plan Campus Day.
Before she graduates, Samuelson wishes to see change in female leadership roles. As the only female senator in her class, she sees improvement with each class as the female count rises, but she noted the student body presidents are all male.
To increase female leadership roles, Samuelson is in the early stages of creating the ‘Epic Challenge.’ Its purpose is to encourage Simpson College faculty and students to become more engaged with the committee boards or a leadership position.
“It asks different companies and institutions, like Simpson, to work on retention, hiring, equal pay and leadership improvement of women. If Simpson would take on this challenge, they would make a commitment to increase that number or other aspects of the college.”
Samuelson’s passion for policy and her major have led her to an internship at United Way of Central Iowa, a dream job she hopes to have in the future. As the community impact intern, she looks and researches different policies that the state wants to advocate at the state capital.
In the future, she would like to work for a nonprofit as a lobbyist for social issues. Samuelson says she feels like she can make a difference at the state level for social policy changes more than she could at a federal level.
This wouldn’t have been possible without her speaking up, and she encourages students to do the same.
“The sky is the limit at Simpson College. Someone will help you to make your vision a reality if you take initiative. Make your experience your own.”
Samuelson is grateful for what Simpson College has done to impact her life, teaching her to follow her passion wherever it takes her, whether it would be graduate school along the coast or staying in Des Moines and getting more experience in social policy.