When she was little, Samantha Sullivan never went anywhere without a black and white composition book, in which she would write down what people told her when she “interviewed” them. In middle school, she learned more about social justice and decided that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping people with her words. She will graduate from Temple University in fall 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Sullivan is planning to pursue a graduate degree in the field through the Klein College of Media and Communication’s accelerated master’s program. Her career goal is to serve as a light to guide change and help illuminate a path to a more equitable future.
“I believe that people have the power to usher in reform, and journalism plays a key role in accomplishing it. One of the most powerful things journalists can do is foster empathy and understanding between people. This can lead to important conversations and meaningful change. In order to create a future in which everyone feels safe, respected, and heard, it is up to journalists to start this dialogue by giving people the opportunity to speak about their experiences.”
Last year, Sullivan served on The Temple News as a freelance features writer. She took advantage of the opportunity to connect with people during COVID, documenting students’ experiences during such an unprecedented time. This coming academic year, she will be the Features Editor.
Living in Charleston, South Carolina, Sullivan had to call out racism frequently. In high school, she was in charge of the feminist club and helped instate a rule that any article of clothing containing the Confederate flag could not be worn or displayed at school. The club often invited Black community leaders, artists, and advocates to speak to the club about intersectionality and other topics.
Some of Sullivan’s antiracism work has been more difficult. One of the most meaningful times she has confronted racism was with her own grandparents, who did not understand the movement to defund the police and were upset about some of the damage that happened in the city during protests.
“I took the opportunity to explain to them what exactly the protestors were trying to accomplish,” Sullivan said. “This prompted a great conversation about what it means to abolish the police and how police target people of color. I was lucky that they were willing to engage in the discussion and listen with such respect.”
If she could wish for one thing, Sullivan would wish for more time. Even though she’s just 20 years old, she feels as though she’s running out of time to see, do, experience, and learn. She wishes for all the time in the world to discover as much as she can.
For the world, Sullivan would wish for empathy because she believes that lack of it is the basis for so many problems. If people took the time to listen to one another and understand their points of view, she thinks people would fight harder for change.
When she’s not attempting to change the world, Sullivan plays bass and works on Lucy Goldloop, the cassette tape label she started with a few friends. She also writes for several music magazines and shoots film. The top item on her bucket list is to travel to Japan.