Sammy McNeill



Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Caledonia, Michigan

What led you to choose UE?

There are a variety of reasons, but what most influenced my decision was UE’s incredible study abroad programs. My dream always had been to study abroad and while at UE I’ve been able to do it twice. Once to Finland, and the other to the UK through the Harlaxton program. With both of these endeavors, I was fully supported by UE to go and encouraged to make the experiences what I wanted them to be. UE worked with me one-on-one through each step of the process, from investigating universities in Finland to breaking down the courses they offered and seeing how they compared with the ones at UE. With Harlaxton, it was even easier; having staff and students from UE traveling abroad with us meant there was no need for compromise or to worry about courses since the program allowed us to take a normal semester’s worth of courses. The only difference was that they were taught halfway across the world rather than on campus. UE’s encouragement and help preparing for these experiences made all the stress go away, leaving room only for the thrill rides of my life.

Why did you choose your major?

I grew up with communications as a major part of my life and had an interest in it from an early age thanks to this. Getting more involved with it on my own as I got older felt natural and comforting, as well as fun. When it came time to start college, deciding on communications as my major was the most obvious choice for me. UE further supported me in this decision by providing me with great learning opportunities during our courses and the tools to learn new skills, while honing the ones I already had. I’ve worked with several real-world clients already thanks to the courses I’ve taken at UE. I’ve been able to learn how to use software and technology I couldn’t have dreamed of being able to use on my own. All of this has confidently prepared me for life beyond campus.

What is your ChangeLab experience?

My ChangeLab is called “COVID Through the Coasts” and is a project my team and I partnered with the local WNIN news station here in Evansville on. We’re partnered with them to do interviews and find resources for them throughout the Midwest to potentially follow up on or use the information we gather in their publications. The experience has not been easy for me. I’ve always been quite an introvert, so reaching out to new people has not been a strong suit of mine. As such, this project has really forced me out of my comfort zone when it comes to connecting with professionals that I’ve never personally met. I’ve needed to learn the importance of operating not only my own schedule but making sure to work around the schedules of the professionals we’re working alongside. It’s certainly not easy, but I’m thankful for the real-world lessons this project is teaching me, nor would I trade them for anything.