Samantha Zaruba '12 talks about what it's like to be an Annual Fund Student Caller and her favorite classes here at UMass.


Where are you from?
I'm from Foxboro, Massachusetts.

What attracted you to UMass?
The endless possibilities- to change your mind and in the amount of people you can meet. Also it has top ranked programs and professors while still being economically affordable- in comparison anyways.


How long have you worked as an Annual Fund Student Caller?
A little over 2 years.


Any interesting experiences as a student caller?
Yes- talking to a wide variety of people yields a lot of memorable conversations. The best one was with UMass HFA alum and local artist Donna Estabrooks. We established a connection and I ended up interning with her last summer.

You’re a studio art major; have you always been interested in art?
Yes, but not as a career. My grandmother is a watercolor painter and I grew up trying to imitate her work. In high school, my grandfather saw potential in my creativity and sent me to art lessons. When I got to UMass, I really missed painting and had nowhere to paint in my dorm. My hobby has broadened my experiences and friendships and opened up new possibilities.

What’s the best art class you’ve taken so far?
Advanced Drawing with Professor Trevor Richardson. My teacher pushed people to breaking points to obtain greatness. It was a class that brought me to tears and took me more than the semester to complete all of the course work but I learned more from it than most of the other classes I've taken at UMass. It taught me how to see properly- how to actually observe what's in front of me. It sounds simple but it was the hardest thing that I've had to achieve as an artist.

What other classes have you enjoyed?
Media, Public Relations and Propaganda with Professor Sut Jhally. My other major is Communicatons and Professor Jhally is someone who has also taught me how to see. Because of his classes, especially the one mentioned, I literally cannot view the world the same way anymore. He unabashedly explores the truth and the ugly realities that govern the world.


What’s your favorite UMass memory so far?
It wasn't at UMass. I studied abroad with the art department for 6 weeks in France in the summer of 2008 with professor Michael Coblyn and former professor Paul Berube. We spent a little over 2 weeks in Paris and a little over 3 weeks in the south of France where we stayed in the castle of Henry Clews. I learned so much from my professors and my peers and saw a beautiful country with a group of wonderfully wacky art students. I made friends that will be in my life forever.


What do you hope to do after graduation?
My hopes for the future are cloudy, indefinite and possibly out of line with reality. For my immediate future, however, I hope to teach English in Spain for a year after I graduate.


What advice would you give to incoming freshman?
To join a RAP- Residential Academic Program. I joined in the Communications RAP freshman year and lived in an all freshman dorm and it was the best decision I could have made. It was mainly Communications majors in my hallway and we all took Freshman English Writing together as well as two introductory level Communications courses. It helped to make the school a lot smaller and we all became pretty close. Also, having a few classes in my living area directly next to my building was pretty great.


February 2011

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