This year's recipient of the Robert A. Barry award is Samanthe Tiver, a student notable not only for her exceptional academic performance, but also for her drive to apply what she learned in ways that make our community a better place.
Samanthe has always taken her academic career seriously, supplementing her economics degree by completing a math minor. Over the years, she contributed to the economics department as a grader, tutor, and teaching assistant for various classes. Always performing at high levels, Samanthe went beyond the basic requirements to engage her academics deeply.
As a Sharpe Community Scholar, Samanthe incorporates her passion for positive community change with rigorous economics research. Through a partnership with the Academy for Life and Learning, a Williamsburg-James City County School alternative education program, Samanthe participated in service-learning, finding ways to apply a variety of disciplines, from economics to linguistics, in her community work with the students. To expand her work in the community, Samanthe participated in the Phoenix Project's Social Innovation Program, where she both studied nonprofit organizational management and theory and completed consulting internships with local Petersburg, Virginia nonprofit organizations.
Samanthe merged her enthusiasm for economics and her passion for community engagement in her research, beginning with independent studies and going on to complete an honors thesis on nonprofit success.
In the beginning of her nonprofit research, Samanthe sought ways to better understand nonprofit organizations and funding decisions. She worked as an intern for Danville Regional Foundation in Danville, Virginia, in the summer of 2010, performing community-based research and providing funding recommendations and reports to staff, supervisors and the Board. Samanthe used this new knowledge to complete her thesis, "Nonprofit Evaluation," which uses econometric techniques to assess the way nonprofit organizations are traditionally evaluated.
Samanthe is a valued member of the William and Mary community outside of the Economics Department as well. Recognizing the importance of engaged scholarship, Samanthe helps other students work toward positive social change through her position as a teaching assistant in the Community Studies program and as a student director for Branch Out National alternative break program through the Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship.
Samanthe has received several awards and recognitions over the past year, as a Marion Y. Goble scholarship recipient and Karen Dudley memorial scholarship recipient. She will be graduating summa cum laude and as a member of the Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the Eta Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, and Mortar Board Honor Society.