Alumna gets students involved


Are people born leaders, or are they born with the potential to become one?

Samantha Alley ’11 thinks Manchester students have great potential to lead.  Now helping them realize that potential is part of her mission as MU’s new director of student involvement and leadership development.

The Portage, Ind., native majored in educational studies at MU and taught English in South Korea for five years before returning in 2016 to join the admissions staff.  As an admissions counselor she was well-suited to sing Manchester’s praises because of the positive student experience she had. “I loved every second of being at Manchester,” said Alley.  “I am a very outgoing person, so I never struggled with being homesick. Manchester had a community of people that were always there to support me. I lived in Schwalm Hall, and it was a great place to hang out with friends. I loved the community aspect of Schwalm, as well as people to hang out with.”

Alley oversees the Student Activities Center and all on-campus clubs and organizations, as well as intramurals. She advises Student Senate and intramurals and leads the Student Budget Board and the Manchester Activities Council.

She understands firsthand the important integration of student life with academic life, too.

The transition from high school to college academics is a big shift for anyone and, as a student, Alley used the Success Center. “I quickly improved on time management skills. I also learned how to live independently (away from my parents). I had to do things like making appointments myself since I was used to my mom making them for me.”

 “When students – in particular first-year students – arrive on campus they have a lot of free time,” said Alley, “so they can become involved in something they're interested in, and can slowly build skills to lead a group, which is helpful for job employment after graduation,” she added. “I want to ensure that there are going to be activities that students are excited about attending, so they can enjoy their time on campus. I want all students to know that I am here for them and they can come to me with any idea they have, and I will try my best to make it happen.”

The alumna is a donor to Manchester and she encourages fellow alumni to stay connected with the University throughout their lives – in time, treasure or both.

“I really want older alumni to know that our current students are just as involved today as they were when they attended MU,” she said. “No matter what age we get, we should still help and still assist students on campus. As for younger alumni, I believe they should reach out and get involved with students and other people throughout the community. We (all alumni) are all here to help one another, and I hope that they see my passion and are inspired to pursue their own passions.”

By Evan Harris ’20