March 8, 2018

From Merit Scholarships to Madagascar

It’s hard to find the time — or the wifi — to conduct a transoceanic interview when you’re busy studying everything from the French and Malagasy languages to lemurs and natural resource management. But Distinguished Scholar of Environmental Studies Samantha Brooks ’19 is just honored to be thought of. 

“I am so thankful for this award. I feel like my voice is pretty quiet and I don’t often find myself reflecting on my leadership qualities, so I am very appreciative that people at Guilford have noticed me,” she writes in an email interview. “To be given the title of ‘scholar’ is so exciting.” Samantha is an Environmental Studies and French double major from Henrico, Va. She’s currently studying abroad in Antalaha, Madagascar.

With earning the honor of distinguished scholar in her department, Samantha clearly has a handle on the coursework part of college. Like many students at Guilford, she’s also heavily involved in co-curricular activities. She’s a student athlete for the Women’s Cross Country team and a member of the Biohazard Ultimate Frisbee team, Guilford Christian Ministry, German Club and Guilford College Outdoors Club.

“Cross country is challenging — it tests me. Frisbee approaches exercise as a way to promote good mental health. Christian ministry is fulfilling through everything from spiritual conversations to food,” she explains. “I don’t even speak German, aside from a few phrases I’ve picked up, but Professor Dave Limburg is so wonderful that I joined that club, too!”

"Something that binds our community together is that we try to make everyone feel like they have purpose, that they are heard."

Samantha Brooks '19
Environmental Studies, French


Currently, Samantha is enjoying the beauties of a country that is, she says, very different from the United States. “Things move so slowly here, the greenery looks even greener here and the tastes of the fruits are unexplainable,” she says. 

That awestruck feeling reminds her of her first visit to Guilford’s campus, an experience that she says sealed the deal for her. “My parents and I drove by the school, pulled into the visitor parking lot, and there was a brief pause to where no one spoke. All of Guilford was so beautiful — blooms and so much green everywhere. That was the first thing that made me fall in love with Guilford.” 

After college, Samantha intends to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship or the Peace Corps in preparation for a career of international work. 

“I am passionate about every human being having access to clean water and adequate food,” she says. “Guilford is helping me chase this dream by giving me this international experience. If it wasn’t for Daniel Diaz and Robert Van Pelt in the Study Abroad Office, I wouldn’t have found this program in Madagascar. This opportunity has solidified my desire to do international work.”

Want to study abroad in college? Interested in a career that positively impacts the Earth and humankind? Schedule a visit to Guilford and learn how our curriculum, combined with travel opportunities, can help you achieve your goals.

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