Claire Sampson ’19 has spent a lot of time in a lot of classrooms during her time in Chicago. Of course there were her classes at the University, where she double-majored in neuroscience and psychology … but she has also spent many hours in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms on the South Side.
Since her first year on campus, Sampson has worked with the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP), one of UChicago’s longest-standing community outreach programs. Every year, more than 500 NSP student employees and volunteers work with 4,000 local students at 50 South Side sites in classrooms, tutoring sessions, and college application workshops.
“I grew up in a suburb,” Sampson says, “and one of the things that appealed to me about UChicago was that I could get out of the campus bubble and engage with the community in the city. NSP has opened my eyes to what’s happening outside the boundaries of the University.” Working with kids of all ages has helped her connect lessons from University classes like Urban Schools and Communities to their real-world applications, she says, and has fueled her desire to work in education eventually.
“As an NSP volunteer, I felt that I was in classrooms to build relationships with students and teachers and schools. It’s all about those 35 kids and what they need, whether that means helping a teacher prep curriculum work, grading papers, or working with a student one-on-one.”
Sampson has also served in the NSP Leadership Corps, helping to guide program operations and recruit new student workers, and on the University’s student advisory committee for civic engagement, where she lends her voice to help shape civic engagement priorities and initiatives. In all her roles, she has been passionate about making sure students know about the wide range of opportunities UChicago offers for students to work in the community in an engaged and respectful way.