December 08, 2014

Alumni Profile: Samantha Robison BA ’08

Meet Samantha Robison BA ’08, a political science graduate and founder of AptArt.
  • Samantha Robison BA '08
  • Samantha Robison BA '08
Samantha Robison BA ’08

Hometown: Poolesville, Maryland
Major/minor: Political science major, studio art minor
Current work: Founder and executive director of AptArt

What drew you to attend Lewis & Clark?

What initially drew me to Lewis & Clark were its overseas study programs. Also, being from the East Coast, I found that the West Coast had a certain allure.

Were there any notable experiences, courses, or faculty at Lewis & Clark that helped to shape the path you’ve taken since graduation?

Associate Professor of Art Ted Vogel was very informative and supportive as my minor advisor and ceramics professor. Director of the Writing Center and former Professor of Political Science John Holzwarth and Associate Professor of Political Science Todd Lochner were set on constantly challenging their students. This made us want to impress them, which was never easy.

A notable experience came of the fact that I once plagiarized a few lines of a paper on ethics (the irony of it all). At the time, I thought I would never be accepted to graduate school and that my academic career was over. When I went before the ethics board, I openly admitted it and said they should punish me in any way they saw fit. The faculty members in front of me responded with an incredible amount of respect for simple and clear admittance of guilt. Looking back on that incident, after being accepted to graduate school and from my current vantage point, I realize that what seemed like the end of the world was actually a source of some really valuable lessons.

Did Lewis & Clark play a role in your development of a global perspective?

Taking courses taught by faculty members from overseas was helpful in that it forced me to examine the world in new ways. I began, as a student, to understand that the reality created for me in the United States is not akin to what people are experiencing in other countries.

Can you describe the relationship between your undergraduate studies and your current work?

I majored in political science and minored in studio art, so my degree fits in quite well with what I do now. But that fact doesn’t matter much because even if I had studied different topics, the critical thinking abilities that I gained from my Lewis & Clark education have been most helpful.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to current or future Lewis & Clark students?

In true Portland form, I will hearken back to our dear philanthropist Phil Knight of Nike with the suggestion to “just do it.” Do whatever you’re passionate about, regardless of how many people tell you that you’re insane or that it won’t work. Those people are probably boring. You will learn something no matter what happens.

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