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Rising junior Samantha McPherson has been singing since words could come out of her mouth. She started her music career as a member of her church choir, and today, she’s belting out songs in the Gospel Choir and Chamber Singers.

“Music is in my veins and I wouldn’t change that for anything,” Samantha said. “It has a great impact on so many people. I could be at my lowest point, but music changes my whole mood.”

Samantha cherishes the diversity in music and enjoys learning different languages and styles as she increases her repertoire. But one of her favorite parts of Gospel Choir goes beyond just treble clefs and time signatures. La’Rae Trice, Gospel Choir director, has made a huge impact on both Samantha’s musical and personal lives.

“Miss La’Rae is like a big sister,” Samantha said. “I’ve cried to her before, and she says, ‘This is what we’re going to do to fix it.’ She’s been one of the greatest influences I’ve had at Olivet. She’s one in a million. Miss La’Rae pushes you to your limit, and I’m glad she does. She has 30 kids in the Gospel Choir and she has a place in her heart for all of them. I love her for taking me under her wing.”

Samantha is pursuing a degree in sociology/anthropology with minors in social work and music. Her goal is to become a social worker one day.

“I always knew I wanted to help people, even if I don’t know you and you look upset,” she said. “Initially I wanted to work with kids in the social work aspect but I’ve realized over the past year that it doesn’t matter which age group I work with. I just want to help people.”

Samantha received a Multicultural Award for her outstanding academic performance during the fall 2018 semester.

The acceptance and inclusivity that comes with music further inspires her passion for social work. But before helping people, Samantha had to grow herself. Olivet showed her the way.

“My first year at Olivet, there were so many difficult, different changes,” she said. “I had to learn how to stand up for myself. To speak up for myself and not let people run all over me. Being at Olivet definitely helped me build a voice. I feel like the biggest influence the school has had on me is to become a better person and speak up for myself. It’s amazing how I’m growing with time. I didn’t know that I’d be here today. I feel like I’ve grown as a young woman, the way I carry myself and act in public. This school has been a great influence. It’s made me grow and become more open.”

With her positive attitude and passion for music, there’s no doubt Samantha will continue to flourish at Olivet.

“You have to smile through anything. Even when I’m upset or have a rough day, I have that one conversation with my mom or listen to that one song and I have a bigger outlook on life. I keep a smile on my face and a song in my heart, and I’m good.”

To learn more about Olivet College, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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