Sam Underwood, a senior from Muncie, Ind., was recognized as “Student of the Block” for the eighth block at Tusculum College in recognition of her academic achievements and leadership on campus.
Underwood, a business administration major with minors in international business and economics, was presented the honor during a ceremony in the Living Room of the Niswonger Commons, where a plaque recognizing her accomplishments will be displayed. The award was established by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize students for their academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community.
As a recruit to the Pioneer volleyball team, Underwood made an immediate impact on the campus community as she forged her career as a student-athlete, excelling in the classroom, on the volleyball court and as a leader on campus.
She has served as the president of the Study Abroad and Global Awareness Organization and was a co-founder and monitor for the Help Me Help You small business consulting organization and co-founder and division director for the new Center of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.
Underwood represented Tusculum at the Salzburg Global Seminar, was a student speaker at the Appalachian College Association Summit in Knoxville and tutored other students in English, math, science and business courses. She was a member of the Honors Program and the Tusculum chapter of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.
A four-year starter on the volleyball team, Underwood served as captain for three years. She was named to the SAC All Freshman team in 2009, second team All SAC in 2010 and first team All SAC in 2011. Not only did she help lead Tusculum to its very first NCAA II Tournament appearance, she also led the Pioneers to four consecutive appearances and their first ever birth to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. She was named to the SAC Preseason All Conference Team and helped lead this year’s team to a 24-8 record overall.
Michael Robinson, head coach for the volleyball team, wrote of Underwood in his nomination, “Samantha is an extremely motivated person who sets high goals for herself and then rises to any challenge to attain them. She is no stranger to hard work and dedication or to striving to better herself in every aspect of life. Between her hectic academic and athletic responsibilities, Samantha also finds time to give of herself in the most unselfish ways. When you envision the “cream of the crop, you see Samantha.
“I can honestly say that not many others hold a candle to her character and to her overall contributions to the athletic program, institution and the Tusculum College community,” Robinson continued.
In addition to her academic and athletic responsibilities, she has served as a volunteer with the Greene County Animal Shelter, the Nathaniel Greene Museum, theater events at Tusculum and in the Bonner Leader student organization.
Underwood credits her parents, Scott and Tammy Underwood, as her consummate role models and appreciates all of the sacrifices, support, love and kindness they have shown in their parenting. She also credits her coaches, professors and friends as influences in her life as well.
Appreciative of the educators in her life, Underwood attributes her academic success at Tusculum to the business department faculty for their role in her life. “I have so much respect and love for Dr. [Antonio] Bos, professor of business administration; Dr. [Tom] McFarland, associate professor of business, and Dr. [Michelle] Freeman, associate professor of business administration. They have each shaped my mind and experience at Tusculum in huge ways. Taking international marketing with Dr. [Geir] Bergvin, associate professor of marketing and director of the Center for Global Studies, while in Barcelona, Spain, was a unique and thrilling learning experience. They [all] have supported my endeavors in and out of the classroom, acted as mentors when called upon and inspired me to believe I was capable of anything.”
Underwood will graduate in May and then take a position as executive team leader for Target in Indianapolis.