Samuel Reece, Dean’s Award of Merit

Majors: Political science and American Studies

Minors: Social innovation and leadership and creative writing

Hometown: Montevallo, Alabama

Favorite Experience at UA: There has been nothing I’ve loved more than my time spent with Vote Everywhere UA, a student organization and campus chapter of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. I’ve been able to do amazing and challenging work advocating for student voting rights, talking to state legislators, and watching my peers get excited about engaging in democracy. But, more importantly, I’ve been able to spend time with students, faculty, and staff whose dedication to inclusion and equity has inspired me every single day and made me excited and proud to be a student at UA.

Favorite ClassI will never forget being in Dr. Jack Carey’s AMS-300 Special Topics class, Southern Spaces, in the Spring 2020 semester. Dr. Carey is one of those professors who makes class feel like an essential experience you want to absorb every second of. There are a thousand things from that class that have lodged themselves in my head and become integral parts of how I think about the spaces I inhabit, what it means to be from a place, and the South as an idea. Dr. Carey always gives his students incredible support while also giving us room to explore what interests us – and though my grand plan to compose a travel log of my Spring Break Study Abroad trip to Cuba as a final project was foiled by COVID-19 travel restrictions, and we didn’t get to finish the semester in person, the places Dr. Carey pushed me to take my work were crucial to processing the uncertainty of a global pandemic and fundamentally changed the way I think about my place in the world. The paper I produced for that class is one of the pieces of work I’m most proud of.

Future Plans: I am planning to attend law school in the fall, and to pursue a career in public interest law.