Campus Profile: Sam Schlernitzauer

Sam Schlernitzauer, a 22-year-old senior Theatre student from San Jose, California, knew she wanted to take on her current role as Chair of the Chapman University Program Board (UPB) since she was just a freshman. Aside from her commitments to UPB and academics, Sam is a member of a number of organizations at Chapman that have provided her the room to grow and find her passion as a leader. In speaking to her, it's more than evident that Chapman has truly become her home.

With fellow Spirit of Chapman award nominees at the 2016 Homecoming game.

What are you involved in at Chapman?

Besides UPB, I am also a mentor for the Futuros Brillantes program, in Chapman 50, and part of the Chapman Diversity Project.

What advice do you have for prospective Chapman students?

Get involved. Find what makes you happy at Chapman; there's something for everyone here, and once you find that something, Chapman really becomes your home.

How did you get involved in UPB?

I was part of the Emerging Leaders program coming in as a first-year student, and the Chair at the time – Camellia Kalvati – came to speak to us about the programming and her experience. I went to the orientation dance, Club Glow, that UPB helps put on that night and had a lot of fun. I joined UPB as a committee member that year, and before the end of freshman year, I had the goal of becoming Chair my senior year.

Why is UPB important to you?

It's a space that, coming in as a first-year, I could compeletely be myself. I have had the opportunity to give back to Chapman and its students. Also, it's become not only my family, but a home to me and there's a great culture within UPB where we always help each other out. There's an unconditional love that you can't find anywhere else. Plus, there's nothing better than seeing students happy at programs and coming up to you afterwards and thanking you for giving them an experience that positively impacted them.

What is your favorite UPB-specific memory?

My sophomore year, I served UPB as the Panther Nights director. For our retreat, we went ocean kayaking, and of course, it started raining. But, we ended up seeing whales, and a sea lion, and pelicans. Despite it being the worst conditions, we really bonded as a team and grew from the experience.

Sam Schlernitzauer with the Dean of Students, Jerry Price. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working at a university in student affairs. I've truly learned to love student affairs at Chapman, and want to be able to give back to students so that they can find their passion, too.

Handling so many responsibilities and having to make post-graduation plans can be stressful – where is your happy place?

My bathtub. I legitimately have a sign next to it that says "this is my happy place."

Who or what is your inspiration?

That's tough. I think I have to say my mom is definitely one of them. She went back to school when I was in the eighth grade to become a nurse, because she wanted to be something impactful. Her perseverance is something that I admire because she works with cancer patients, and is really able to help them through the toughest times. I would also say Judy Garland, because she was part of Hollywood when women were treated as objects – although, not much has changed. Her lifestyle was dictated by Hollywood, but she also persevered to the best of her abilities and did something she really loved even though it wasn't the healthiest decision. She made me want to follow my passion and continue to do what makes me happy.

In three words, what does make you happy?

Dogs. Babies. Friends.

On the 2016 - 2017 UPB Executive Board holiday card.