“I owe my present and future success to Clayton State University because the faculty and staff have helped my dreams be made real,” excitedly states Samantha Watson, a fall 2014 graduate.
A native of Locust Grove, Ga., and a 2010 graduate of Ola High School, Watson started her Laker journey in 2010 as a part time freshman and commuter. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with her B.A. in Communication and Media Studies and a minor in Film. She was also honored with the 2013-2014 Excellence in Communications and Media Studies Award.
“My freshman days were a little rocky,” Watson explains, “but when I started to meet CMS faculty and take classes for my major my whole outlook on school and life changed.”
Watson was mentored throughout her sophomore, junior, and senior year by Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies Dr. Virginia Bonner. She accepted the invitation into an experiential learning course with Dr. Bonner where she served as a teaching intern for lower level communications classes during four semesters.
“Being able to interact with my peers in a leadership position gave me the confidence to pursue other internship opportunities and really got me thinking about graduate school opportunities,” comments Watson.
Serving as the general manager of Clayton State’s student media broadcasting station, CSTV, inspired Watson to pursue internships with media outlets in Atlanta. She stresses that student media are, “beyond important. It is where the first steps of hands on learning happen in universities. Gaining knowledge through experience is what makes Clayton State so great.”
Because of the support from the Clayton State community, Watson has completed two successful internships. She interned with the GA General Assembly in spring 2014 and then with CNN International Special Projects in fall 2014. She explains that these internships were supplemental learning and that “without them I wouldn’t be as a desirable candidate for graduate school or entry level positions as I am now.”
Watson has been busy on campus as well. She has held membership within multiple on-campus organizations such as the Diversity Education Experiences for Peers program, CSTV, Interfaith Leadership Ambassadors, AmeriCorps, Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Honors Student Association. She also works for the Housing and Residence Life Department as a resident assistant as well as for the Office of External Relation as a student journalist.
“My brief time in AmeriCorps changed me. It sparked an inextinguishable flame of passion for social justice and community service in me. Ever since my first service project with the school, I have dedicated my education to learning about and advocating for social justice,” states Watson.
Her interest in social justice extends into international affairs. During her summer study abroad program in 2013, Watson worked and connected with LGBT youth in Waterford, Ireland.
“Working with citizens of a different country millions of miles away from home really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the world around me,” explains Watson. “I realized that I could serve not only Americans, but the globe. I could be an international civil servant.”
Currently Watson is working on a socially conscious web series with fellow Clayton State alumni and Georgia State students. She hopes to be enrolled in a graduate program for Political Science within a year or two and plans to work on media projects and serving her community in the meantime.
Watson gives advice to her peers at Clayton State: “Ask questions and never be afraid to look stupid. Self-consciousness holds us back; be confident and opportunities will come. Apply for everything you’ve ever wanted because at the end of the day you will regret being lazy and you will regret not going after something you really wanted.”