After graduating from high school in Ridgeland, Mississippi, a suburb just north of Jackson, Sam Saia was extremely hesitant about attending college so close to home. In time, though, he built relationships that helped him appreciate Millsaps College and what it offered to him.
“College is filled with new heartache and hardships, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to help me push through,” he said. “My time with the cross country and track teams has been incredibly beneficial to shaping the person that I have grown to be, and those relationships that I have formed are priceless to me. I have found mentors not only in Coach (Andy) Till, but in the alumni runners as well, who have helped to steer me in a positive direction during my most difficult times.”
Saia will graduate in May 2021 with a major in philosophy and a minor in psychology, and plans to apply to Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs for clinical or counseling psychology. He took a step toward that career goal after his sophomore year when he earned a Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, located across the street from campus.
Like so many Millsaps students before him, Saia is quick to credit the faculty for their impact on his time at the college.
“Some professors that have been extremely impactful in my career at Millsaps have been Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Ammon, who is regrettably now retired, Dr. Gleason and Dr. Golden,” Saia said. “It’s difficult to not simply list the professors that have taught me because they have all had some unique benefit to their teaching style personality and attitude towards their respective courses.”
The challenges of completing his comprehensive exams, final critical essay for a survey course and senior seminar thesis (which was built around some of his favorite classes, including Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Literature and Aesthetics) have pushed Saia to a new level in his senior year.
“I felt a pride in my own work that I was never able to grasp, even prior to college,” he said. “I didn’t realize how well the professors had prepared me until I was near the finish line, and for that I will always be grateful.”