Senior Success: Samantha Rivera, valedictorian of the Class of 2021
Editor’s Note: SALVEtoday is celebrating the Class of 2021’s Senior Week with specially curated content Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 7. Senior Week will be devoted to sharing special Senior Success stories and other content relevant to the Class of 2021. Check back each day to read stories about Salve Regina’s incredible seniors. For more Class of 2021 stories, go here.
If anyone had told Samantha Rivera ’21 when she started as a first year at Salve Regina that she would be valedictorian for the Class of 2021 in just four years, she would’ve laughed.
“I am so incredibly honored to have been named this year’s valedictorian,” she said. “It feels amazing to be recognized for all of my hard work over these past four years …. I am so grateful to all of my family and friends who helped me get here.”
Rivera, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing with double minors in business administration and psychology, will be spending the summer in Newport to take classes in Salve Regina’s MBA program. She is part of the five-year program that enables her to graduate with a master’s degree just one year after graduating from her undergraduate degree at Salve Regina.
Rivera’s ultimate dream is to someday work for an environmental or social justice oriented nonprofit organization. “I am passionate about sustainability and want to use my marketing skills to help create a healthier planet and build a more socially just world,” she said.
Rivera points to Dr. Traci Brady, professor of business and economics, as the teacher that had the greatest impact on her during her time at Salve Regina. As Rivera’s advisor, Brady helped her stay ahead in order to graduate a semester early while still spending a semester abroad.
“I also had Dr. Brady for many of my marketing classes, and she was the one who convinced me to join Salve’s chapter of the American Marketing Association where I spent a year on the executive board,” Rivera described. “I definitely would not have enjoyed studying marketing as much as I did without her and credit her for being prepared to become a marketing professional.”
Rivera truly enjoyed her time in the marketing program, and she believes the classes offered for marketing were a great combination creative and analytical components.
“Whether you’re a creative thinker or a critical thinker, the marketing program at Salve can be the place for you,” she said. “There are so many careers you can enter after earning a marketing degree and the program will provide you with a solid business background.”
As Rivera reflects on other aspects of her educational experience at Salve Regina, she believes that the psychology classes she took for her minor were incredibly valuable.
“Courses on cross-cultural psychology and psychology of prejudice … highlighted the importance of cultural awareness and diversity,” she said. “The concepts I learned in my psychology courses can easily be applied in the business world and will help me to be a well-rounded marketing professional.”
Overall, Rivera said that she loved attending a smaller institution like Salve Regina. It meant that she knew almost every person she passed by in the hall or on the sidewalk every single day.
“There are so many different ways to get involved on campus, and joining various clubs and organizations was how I met so many of my friends,” she said.
Senior Success is part of Salve Success — a series of student success stories periodically featured on SALVEtoday. Check out the tag Salve Success for more student stories. For more Class of 2021 stories, go here.