Samantha Robertson

My Education

UNC Chapel Hill

BA | Environmental Studies


I am a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in Environmental Studies. I’ve been living in China for two years jumping all over the place, all the way from rural Hunan to the booming metropolises of Shanghai and Beijing. I’m passionate about using education as a tool to inspire positive change in the U.S.-China relationship! When I’m not mentoring or studying Chinese, I like to travel, read, do yoga, bake, and eat plenty of spicy Chinese food!

Q: Why are you passionate about your academic field? When and how did you discover your love of your subject?
A: I love environmental science because it is inherently interdisciplinary. Environmental sciences draws on all aspects of the life and physical sciences, in addition to its inevitable and ubiquitous interactions with society. The environment is the context in which we live, and through my education, I have gained the lens to consider everything from daily interactions to large scale global problems from multiple perspectives.
Q: What are your three top recommendations for a student targeting a masters in your field? What if they are preparing to switch their major to your field?
A: For scholars looking to break into Environmental Science from a different discipline, I say welcome! As I mentioned before, Environmental Science is inherently cross-disciplinary and it will require the brain power of passionate people from all backgrounds to solve the daunting environmental challenges of our lifetime. Drawing a connection between your current field of study and how it has inspired you to work in the realm of environmental sciences will be an exciting challenge, and certainly make for an interesting application. Thus, my recommendations for scholars aiming for a masters in Environmental Science is the same for newcomers or veterans:
  1. In such a vast academic field, pin point your distinct academic interest and make connections on a macro-scale.
  2. Innovation in the field environmental science will require collaboration and thinking outside the box. Show that you’re uniquely creative and also excited to learn from, and draw upon the creativity of others.
  3. Show that you’re optimistic! Anyone with any interest in the field of Environmental Science realizes that sometimes environmental challenges can seem overwhelming, and sometimes insurmountable. This is no way to approach life (or an application) so make sure you communicate that the glass is always half full, and you are undaunted to take on the greatest challenges of the 21st century! 加油!
Q: What resources can students use to educate themselves on your subject?
A: Even if your personal interest is in the physical sciences, engineering, or the social science aspects of the field, make sure that you understand the issues that you’re passionate about from multiple perspectives. For this, I recommend watching documentaries, reading current events from multiple sources, and delving into scholarly journal articles. I’d also recommend looking beyond your regional focus and finding out how other cultures and/or areas of the world deal with the same environmental issue. You’ll be fascinated by how climate and culture interact, and also how our fundamental needs to overcome these challenges intersect!
Q: What are your top tips to showcase an applicant’s strength to Admissions Officers?
A: Focus on the future, especially in your PS! What you’ve done leading up to your application is in fact only one aspect of your application. Highlight how you plan to use your master’s degree to do big things in the world and explain how your dream school will help you achieve these goals.
Q: What aspects of the campus culture are your favorites? Which aspects surprised you? Which would you change if you could?
A: After coming from a small boarding school, I was looking to immerse myself in a new environment, and for me that meant a large scale, and diverse student body. UNC gave me the opportunity to meet people from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, which was something I valued after having attended a high school with vast racial and ethnic diversity, but not socioeconomic diversity. As such, UNC is a school that is bound together by a strong sense of community, despite where one hails from. Although UNC’s size offers limitless benefits, it can also take some adjustment in figuring out how to access campus resources. Thus, I would create more comprehensive guides to educating students on all of these resources and helping them to better take advantage of these resources during their time at UNC.
Q: What’s your favorite fun fact about your university? Any special events or traditions or legends?
A: UNC is the oldest public university in the United States, the first university in the American South to openly denounce slavery, and the home of Michael Jordan. Go Heels!
Q: How did you spend your summer vacation during university? Any advice for making the most of summer?
A: During my summers, I had several internship experiences, all were vastly different and gave me great perspective on how I didn’t want to shape my career, and I mean this very positively! I spent one summer in a big corporate office, one working with a geographical programming software, and another helping plan a massive global public health conference. Each experience gave me insight into what type of organization I would want to work for in the future, and helped me get closer to reaching that goal!
Q: What makes you smile? Share more on a favorite hobby.
A: I absolutely love doing yoga! In fact, I can’t think of a better way to spend time. I love knowing that I’m doing something that draws a stronger connection between my mind and my body, thus making it so I can inspire others with my clarity and positive energy.
Q: Why are you excited to mentor Dyad Scholars?
A: I can’t wait to help others reach their goals! We all have unique characteristics that will shape the way we impact the world, and I’m excited to work with students to pinpoint and cultivate those strengths!