This week, Her Campus SFA gets a hold of avid website designer and ultimate genius, Samuel Burkholder. Samuel is known around SFA for helping students out on the freshman of 2015 group-page on Facebook, since he is a freshman as well. The 18-year-old studies Elementary Education at SFA and helps organizations develop interesting and visually pleasing websites with his free time.
He learned to design websites when he took a web mastering class as an elective in 6th grade. When asked what sparked his interest in web designing, he answered: “I was doing my work quicker and enjoyed it much more than other students. So after the class, I found online tutorials on how to develop websites using different codes, (like HTML, PHP, MySQL), and then I just taught myself from there”.
Mastering the skill quickly, he joined and helped develop an organization called Oathkeeper Creations that designs websites for charities and non-profit organizations for free in 2009. Since the organization was run for free, they supplemented their income by selling their services to various people in private for an affordable price. An example of a group that Samuel has helped design web pages for is SFA’s own Order of the Lumberjack, a chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance group. However, the group didn’t have their funds together at the time the webpage was completed, so it was never published. Samuel plans on helping them publish it once the OOTL gets their funds raised for the price of the domain - something that is out of Samuel’s control.
Oathkeeper Creations was closed down in January 2012 because “people started doing their own projects, [and the] organization was no longer needed”. Samuel is still involved in other extracurricular activities and outside organizations, such as Pride Nac where he claims to always offer his skills when an opportunity arises and still offers students help with web mastering duties, even though Oathkeeper Creations is no longer in service.
Samuel now works at the Center for Regional Heritage Research at SFA where he fulfills web mastering projects for the office, and is also the social media manager for their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Samuel told HC: “The web mastering job is where the office will assign me a project from a different professor on campus and I either design them for them or offer my input on how it should be run. Sometimes I answer the phone. I hold meetings with the project owners, or coordinators, and discuss templates and different ideas for the site and who has control of it”.
Some other organizations Samuel has helped develop websites for are Preserve America and the Corrigan Community History Project. Preserve America is a grant that was started by Chay Runnels and Perky Beisil. The project is archiving multiple cemeteries and their cemetery plots by using a system similar to Google Maps. The website isn’t finished yet, but Samuel is currently working on it and the deadline is April 1st. The Corrigan Community History Project was started in a town in Texas called Corrigan. The town has a population of about 2,000 people and this project “will allow them to go to a kiosk in the library and upload pictures of medals, documents, items of historical significance, or personal significance” to be preserved, Samuel states.
Samuel doesn’t see how his talent will help him become an elementary teacher or a PPDC teacher, (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities – the first year of severe disabilities in Special Education), but he knows he will probably always develop websites freelance as an undying hobby.