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Meet Emma Sammartino '23

Embracing the Unexpected

Photo of Emma Sammartino '23.

Posted on 03.08.23 by Jordan Worthington '23 in College of Arts & Science, Athletics

Sometimes, the best things in life come unexpectedly.

Linfield senior Emma Sammartino '23, would have to agree with that statement.

Emma with a group of friends.“It’s hard for me because I’m a STEM major and I want there to be an XY reason why I chose to go to Linfield, but there’s no tangible reason why I felt like it was the right place. But ultimately, it was,” Emma said with a smile.

A biochemistry and molecular biology major with a minor in math, Emma has always kept academics as her top priority. What she has enjoyed most about the STEM program is the accessibility of professors. 

“They genuinely want you to learn and they are willing to mentor you and make sure you understand the material,” she remarked.

Their mentorship can even go as far as doing research projects with students over the summer, an opportunity Emma took advantage of – not just once, but twice – in 2021 and 2022. Under the guidance of Dr. Megan Beswick, they researched copper concentration in yeast cells and how that affects their ability to produce proteins.

“It was very hands-on research. I wasn’t doing aid work, I was actually doing the experiments and finding the data and seeing how it relates to what we’re trying to get to. It was cool to be so young in my college career and to be able to do research in that capacity,” she said.

Being a college athlete was not something she had expected.

Emma playing soccer.Emma was also a member of the soccer team all four years at Linfield. “I really wanted to find a school for academics first and then if I end up playing soccer, I'd give it a shot,” she said.

Coach Steve Simmons ended up reaching out to Emma and asked if she’d be open to being on the team. All of a sudden, she was wrapping up her fourth year on the team.

After working her way up to being a successful starting midfielder her junior year, she, unfortunately, tore her ACL towards the end of the season. 

“With my injury and everything, I wouldn’t have stayed around if it wasn’t for my teammates,” said Emma.

As disheartening as this was for her, her teammates were by her side through everything, and she has many fond memories as well. She said that one day they had a snow practice and they had to shovel snow off of the field together. Although this seems like a memory that wouldn’t be the most fun, Emma remembers it vividly because they bonded over completing the task together.

Emma with soccer team friends.While Emma’s enjoyment playing soccer may have come as a surprise, she would not have ever considered the opportunity if Linfield wasn’t a school that values student-athletes and appreciates well-rounded opportunities. There are plenty of athletes like Emma who are also able to take on a rigorous academic course load, an aspect that wouldn’t be an accessible option at bigger schools.

Emma's time at Linfield has led to some unexpected roles.

But being an athlete isn’t the only thing that Emma has been involved in.

A career goal she has in mind is to be a physician assistant, which led her to choose a concentration in pre-med when it came to her STEM classes. She ended up becoming the president of the Pre-Med Club, where she organizes events like mock MCAT exams, talks with current medical students and doctors who went toEmma with Alpha Phi sorority friends.Linfield, interview preparation and listening to speakers.

Her leadership didn’t stop there. During her junior year, she joined the Alpha Phi sorority and eventually became the director of alumni relations. Emma said that this was a great way for her to connect with alumni and organize events such as the Homecoming alumni tailgate where generations of Alpha Phi members come together. She was also in charge of celebrating seniors in the sorority each week to highlight their contributions to the chapter.

Emma’s most recent endeavor was a January Term abroad in India. She was originally looking to study abroad for a full semester, but unfortunately with her ACL rehabilitation, she was unable to. She instead found the Philosophy and Politics of Happiness in India class offered in January 2023. The class would investigate how the government plays a role in people’s happiness based on what they give access to in terms of healthcare, food, water and shelter.Emma in India with two other Linfield students.

“I’ve always valued traveling and seeing new cultures and experiencing everything the world has to offer. The world is so vast and there are so many amazing people out there,” Emma said.

A common theme among students that study abroad at Linfield is how much they feel like they can connect their experience in another country to their future undertakings.

“I want to go into the medical field and I need to have a background in understanding people so that I can help them. I think traveling in general helps people understand humans better,” she reflects.