Senior Profile: Sam Stewart

Sam Stewart Sam Stewart is a senior English major on the Creative Writing track.

Why did you decide to become an English major?

After fiddling around with STEM for the majority of my life, I wanted to challenge myself and major in something out of my comfort zone. I took ENGL271 - Writing Poems and Stories and really loved it. My professor, Derrick Ellis, loved my work and encouraged me to add the English major, leading to me dropping Physics and finding a home within the English department.

What clubs, campus groups, internships, outside of class projects have you been involved with?

Outside of class, I teach karate in my hometown during breaks and have been doing that on and off for 8 years. I also volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician with Branchville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company. I also was a undergraduate teaching assistant in the Department of English for ENGL101 this semester.

What has been your favorite class in English and why?

My all time favorite house was ARHU309 which is a creative writing seminar specifically for Writers' House students. I loved the variety of work I got to read and the community really helped get me through some rough times.

What is something you read during class that impacted your worldview? 

I loved reading books like The Farming of Bones and Feeding the Ghosts because I don't often get to read things from other African American writers. Although these books are fiction, they are based off of real life events from history and it was interesting about how those things intertwine. I try to incorporate my knowledge of various subjects into my stories of fiction as well and thought it was very well in these books. It also let me have a perspective on voices from history that are often forgotten and was my first experience with non-European centered history.

What skills (professional, creative or other) do you think you’ve gotten from the major?

I definitely have improved in my communication and empathy skills with the English major. I feel as though I was too attuned to STEM to really emphasize and relate to others and through this major I got to use my imagination and really become vulnerable and connect with others. You simply can't do that with numbers.

What is your dream job or career?

My dream career is to become a world renowned pediatrician and pediatric surgeon. I also hope to join the U.S Air Force and practice military medicine before settling into private practice.

What are you passionate about (or even curious about)?

I'm very passionate about providing affordable, quality healthcare to others, regardless of their ability to pay. I think everyone has a right to live, regardless of their mistakes and actions, and I want to fight for that right and contribute pro bono procedures to those who can't afford them.

To you, what has been the most valuable part of the English degree?

Overall, pursuing and obtaining an English degree helped me find a permanent place at University of Maryland. It's a really big school and it's easy to feel insignificant, but I think everyone from the advisors to professors and other students with the English department really made me feel cared for and like family. It was amazing to be part of a close knit community and I didn't constantly feel at competition with my peers. It was nice to have a break from that and just focus on advancing myself for the real world.