Samantha Cepl, Class of 2013

Samantha Cepl_1From the time she was a little girl, Samantha Cepl knew she wanted to help people. With that in mind, she decided to explore her options at the University of St. Francis (USF).

It wasn’t hard for Cepl to choose USF as the place to go to college. USF is located in her hometown of Joliet, has a philanthropic atmosphere and offers an intimate environment where she could get to know her classmates and professors.

“You can really make the most of college at USF, and you’re not just a random face in the crowd,” said Cepl. “I had a professor tell me, ‘only you make your college experience’, and with that in mind, that’s what I’ve done.”

Cepl is a cheerleader as well as a student leader with the finance and business club, FREE, which stands for Financial Research and Education through Experience. She volunteers at events on campus and in the community.

“Through FREE, I volunteer to teach financial literacy to an at-risk population,” said Cepl. “I love helping people, and I know I can make a difference in their lives by giving them the tools to be successful.”

Her passion for volunteerism recently landed Cepl a spot at the National Conference on Volunteerism and Leadership.

“I was able to connect with people from all over the country and the Chicago area who are making a difference,” said Cepl. “The energy in the room from all the people who help others was electric and very moving.”

Cepl said the experience heightened her passion for helping people even more. The criminal justice major and senior hopes to take that passion and apply it at her first job out of college when she graduates from USF in May. Her dream is to work for a non-profit organization.

“I just know I can make a difference in the lives of others,” said Cepl. “It’s my desire to help people.”