Samantha Hirschman

Samantha Hirschman finds success through connections

From an early age, Samantha understood the value of people and making connections.

Samantha is a first generation college student. However, this never deterred her from wanting to pursue secondary education. While Samantha’s parents didn’t have first-hand knowledge about the four-year college process, they did teach her the value of networking, making connections, and reaching out to people for help.

“My mom knew that we needed to ask questions,” Samantha said of the college application process. “We spent hours with a financial aid officer, and they walked us through the whole process.”

Samantha went on to graduate from Buena Vista University with a degree in corporate communication and a minor in business. She was also heavily involved outside of her classes during her undergraduate years, and this is where she discovered her desire to work in student affairs.

“There isn’t really an undergrad [program] for student affairs,” Samantha said. “Most of us come from heavy student involvement in undergrad, and it opened our eyes to wanting to do it full time.”

Being a first generation student has continued to influence Samantha’s work while at Iowa State. She has used first generation students as a population to study in some of her coursework, and she has also seen the benefits of being a first generation student in her day to day work.

“I feel like I maybe learned a work ethic that other people (non-first generation students) didn’t,” Samantha said.

While Samantha learned the importance of asking questions and making connections at a young age, she is now excited to be the one answering questions and helping other students on their education journey.

“I love being able to learn more about students and being able to serve students in a way that they want to be served,” Samantha said. “I want to lead with compassion. It all comes down to people for me.”