"Leave things better than you found them," is a saying that sophomore Samantha Rader takes to heart.
Though Newman University has no shortage of highly involved and highly motivated students, Rader runs with the best of them, quite literally. She is a member of the cross-country team and an Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) Community Leader Scholar. She's involved in campus organizations like the Multicultural Leadership Organization and is the president of the garden club. Not to mention the time she spends working on her biology degree and the work she puts in as a teacher's assistant to Assistant Professor of Biology Jenifer Leming.
She also volunteers at the Great Plains Nature Center and Exploration Place and spends her free time playing the violin.
Rader seems to always have a goal in mind and more importantly, a way to crush it.
"I’m stubborn. I don’t quit. I try to see things out until the end," she said. She is always striving to be better than she was the day before.
Her cross-country experience at West High School in Wichita is a testament to that.When she began her freshman year as a runner, she did poorly due to her asthma. She said, “I’ve come a long way because I grew up with asthma as a kid and I couldn’t even do one lap on the track, but now I'm a collegiate runner."
Her plan was to participate in the sport for only one year and be done with it. Thanks to her cousin, who was a star on the team, Rader continued.
"At first, I was a slacker and I walked a lot," said Rader. "But something in me clicked between my junior and senior summer."
She trained hard, and by the end of her senior year, she was the fastest girl on the team. She attributes most of her success to perseverance, a quality she carries through many aspects of her life.
While she was still in high school, she set a goal to become an officer in the Marine Corps.
"It’s one of the toughest things you can do mentally and physically," she said. She pondered whether medical school, another ambition that remains in the back of her mind, is the only thing that may be harder.
Rader continually feeds the desire to challenge herself and becoming a Marine may be the ultimate task. "I know that once I become a Marine, I’ll have the confidence and strength to do anything I put my mind to."
To become an officer in the Marines, a college degree is a necessity.
Her love for nature piqued her interest in a biology degree, thus bringing Newman University to the forefront of her college search. She has since become involved in multiple organizations, both academic and extracurricular, on campus.
As president of the garden club, Rader gets to share her love of nature with the Newman community. She hosts events and helps to bring eco-friendly initiatives to campus. She and a friend are currently trying to get eco-friendly "to-go" boxes in the Mabee Dining Center to replace the Styrofoam that is currently used.
As s a farmer's daughter, she has always been encouraged to appreciate nature and be considerate of the environment. She's recently taken up a beekeeping class at the Great Plains Nature Center, where she does volunteer work. Bees are something Rader is extremely passionate about. As a child at summer camp, Rader quickly came to the defense of bees being covered by sand by other campers, setting up camp around the bees and keeping the other campers away. Today, she continues to protect bees by planting flowers and mowing around clover patches because she knows bees are fond of them.
She was recently awarded the David P. Fellows Scholarship through the Great Plains Nature Center due to her passion for nature and conservation.
Being involved in so many organizations and activities keeps Rader extremely busy so Rader said she relies heavily on her agenda.
Rader advises that for students who are looking to get involved, the first step is showing up. Start by attending events and then go to some meetings. She warned, however, "Don’t spread yourself too thin. Find a few things you’re interested in and passionate about. Then you can really excel."
A positive outlook and a "leave things better than you found them" mentality is what helps Rader succeed. She continually improves herself, the environment and the lives of others through all that she does.
"It’s possible to get overwhelmed with everything you're doing, but at the end of the day, I’m just looking for happiness. School gets tough and classes are tough sometimes, but at the end of the day, you came to Newman to become a well-rounded individual. So that’s why I try to be involved in a lot of things. I believe it will all help me be a better person."