By Sam Phillips
Samantha Anderson, a junior finance and economics major at Youngstown State University, is the school’s newest student trustee
Gov. John Kasich appointed Anderson this summer to fill the vacancy left by departing student trustee Eric Shehadi.
Anderson inquired about the position when she learned Shehadi was leaving the board. Her passion for the school and desire to represent her fellow students inspired her to apply. She qualified as one of 12 candidates and was selected as one of four to be interviewed for the position.
Nick Gatz, the deputy director of boards and commissions for Gov. Kasich, conducted the interview.
Anderson was studying abroad in South Korea when she received a call from Gatz telling her she had been appointed. She missed his initial call because of the time difference between Ohio and Korea but spoke to him the next day.
YSU President Jim Tressel called to congratulate her the following day.
Anderson was honored to receive the appointment.
“I am very excited to explore the different facets of the student community that I am not personally connected to. I really want to reach out to students, and to bring to the [YSU] Board of Trustees the different perspectives of these students,” Anderson said.
Anderson participates in several student organizations, including serving as vice president of financial affairs for the Student Government Association. She has also accrued over 650 volunteer hours for various programs.
She describes herself as a go-getter. She said possessing the desire to acquire information and distribute it to people who would benefit from it is a key part of being a student trustee.
“I really have this desire to enhance the experience on campus and bring people together,” Anderson said. “I’m not afraid to go to people, I’m not afraid to ask questions.”
She said she is incredibly involved on campus and loves talking to other students.
“Whenever I am not working, not studying, I just sit down and talk to people,” Anderson said. “I want to understand what they’re thinking, why they’re thinking it, why they came to YSU, what do they like about YSU and what they don’t like about YSU.”
Anderson said she recognizes that college is a different experience for each student and wants to represent everyone fairly. She said she wants to help different groups, even if they have issues she does not face.
This led her to form iPals, a program that helps international students integrate into the YSU community.
Anderson is part of the University Scholar Program within the Honors College, which requires her to dedicate 60 hours a semester to volunteer work.
An internship at Grow Youngstown — a non-profit that helps local farmers bring fresh produce into the area — led her to create the student organization Farm to YSU, which makes it easier for students to purchase fresh food from local farmers.
She also volunteers for YSUscape, a non-profit that beautifies and revitalizes the blighted neighborhoods in Youngstown.
“It’s meaningful because you can immediately see the value it adds to the community, and it has a huge impact on the neighborhood,” Anderson said.
Anderson spent the summer studying at Dankook University in South Korea. She said the level of poverty and lack of government programs to help the poor impacted her and made her grateful for the life she has in America.
She encourages any student who has interest in studying abroad to do whatever it takes to make it possible.
“Going makes you a better person,” Anderson said.
She urges people to cast aside whatever fears they have about leaving their comfort zone and experience as many things as they can.
“People ask themselves every day, ‘Can I do this?’ and think ‘I don’t feel comfortable because I’ve never done this before.’ Do it anyway,” Anderson said. “The benefits that you reap, and the changes you see in yourself and the people around you, are amazing. I just want to encourage that because it is what I learned studying abroad.”