Languages & Literatures Student Spotlight Sam Bass

Sam Bass is a senior at UNI with an English major and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and his expected graduation date is May 2015. Bass says there are very few things he loves more than college; he would love to work at a university for the rest of his life. His main goal would be to impact students the same way he was impacted upon coming to UNI. There are many things he loves about UNI, but the best thing for Sam is the ability to be oneself. 

“The ability to be myself was quite an amazing surprise, despite being such a college cliché. I don’t simply mean being myself in the sense of discovering and developing certain social and political identities, but also in that I feel completely comfortable having an intellectual discussion with my peers. The culture of my high school did not encourage intellectualism, or at least the kind for which I was looking. At UNI, I can always find someone who will teach me something new,” said Bass.

Bass belonged to many organizations in his time at UNI. Beside his hall senate executive board, he served as the Faculty Board Representative for the Honors Student Advisory Board. His biggest honor, though, was when he was selected to represent the Department of Languages and Literatures on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. 

“This experience, as well as a couple others, has given me invaluable experiences of working with faculty and university administrators. Not only is this an important skill, but I also feel validated in my aspirations to work at a university for the rest of my life,” he said.

Bass feels that home is not where you are but who you are with. His connections at UNI have created this home-like atmosphere.

“I’ve been blessed with amazing friends, but the people who work at UNI are also a huge blessing in my life. Becoming a Resident Assistant has been one of the biggest highlights,” said Bass.

UNI has prepared him to think critically about what he is told and what he observes. 

“I can now easily examine a concept beyond face value and explore its more complex nuances. I not only feel confident in my ability to think critically, but also in my ability to communicate my ideas. My classes have trained me well in these regards, particularly my literature courses,” he said.

When coming to college Bass wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to study, but his aunt, an English teacher, was encouraging about his writing skills.

“It was kind of impulsive. I was in the Critical Writing About Literature course the spring of my first year, and I gave my aunt one of my essays, and she told me that I was pretty good at papers. At that time in my life, I was having the classic freshman identity crisis of not knowing what I wanted to study. I just thought, ‘Well, I like doing things I am good at. Maybe I will try this English thing out,’” he recounted.

According to Bass, becoming a part of the Department of Languages and Literatures has been a great experience.

“UNI is small school with big opportunities. You can meet so many people and learn so many things, and yet you can still feel a sense of community that is as intimate as any small town’s. I have loved all of my teachers, and they have all influenced me in many ways,” he said. “However, I have been blessed beyond belief to have worked with Dr. Catherine MacGillivray. My encounters with her have been the most formative experiences of my life. So much of any success I may enjoy is because of her. Although UNI is an amazing place, imagining my experience here without her is quite awful. Not only has she taught me so much, she has given me more confidence than almost anyone else. I am who I am today because of this department.”

After graduation, Bass plans to attend graduate school and earn a degree for post-secondary administration, counseling, or any degree that would allow him to work in college student housing.