Making a Difference in the Community

Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson, Class of 2022, is an out-of-state student who was drawn to Grand Valley because of its nationally-ranked public and nonprofit administration program. 

“I decided to go into the nonprofit sector because I felt that nonprofit work was the best way for me to make a difference in the world, by working in and for my community,” she said.

During her time here, Samantha has become a leader in the classroom and on campus. She has found a way to balance her academics while participating in Greek life, serving as a student support staff member with the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, and as a Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy Fellow. Through the Cook Leadership Academy, Samantha gained a community mentor who provided her an opportunity to intern at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

“I held a lot of leadership roles in high school,” she said. “But it wasn’t until college that I felt like my ideas and opinions were really valued by my peers and, in particular, by adult leaders.” 

Samantha shared how grateful she is for the support of the West Michigan community and the generous donors who make these programs and opportunities available to students. 

“Grand Valley has given me so many connections, both in and outside the classroom. Being immersed in the West Michigan community and having their support has been invaluable for my education,” she said.

Samantha is getting ready to graduate and take what she has learned to make a difference in her
community and beyond. 

“I feel like the education I received at Grand Valley has prepared me to be a versatile public servant. I hope that I am able to use what I’ve learned to contribute in solving local community problems and making the place where I live better for everyone.”