Samantha Nichols '20


  • Hometown: Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii 
  • Major/Minor: Undecided (but leaning toward biology!) 
  • Campus Involvements: Prairie Fire Women's Golf Team, Student Athlete Advisory Committee 
  • Class Year: 2020

Three Facts about Samantha

  1. She isn't used to playing golf in pants and a jacket. She says it was one of the hardest adjustments to make during her first Midwestern winter.
  2. She's looking forward to the new golf simulator on campus this fall.
  3. She knows exactly how many miles she is from home (4,166 miles, but who's counting?).

How did you decide to come to Knox?

I was actually recruited to play golf here. I visited the school on a recruiting trip, as well as others, but I decided on attending Knox because from the moment I stepped on campus, something felt right; it felt like I was home. I grew up in a town even smaller than Galesburg, but I always felt so isolated (which was accurate since I was on an island!), and I always wondered what a big city would be like. Knox fulfilled that wish for me, being an hour's drive away from Peoria and the Quad Cities, but it also had the same small town feel that I grew up in and have always loved. On top of all that, Knox had a great academic reputation.

What’s it like to be so far from home, and in such a different environment?

I was homesick for the first month here, because I was so used to having my family there and my friends just down the street, and now I am an ocean and half a continent away from all of that comfort. During orientation, I did a library session with some of the volleyball girls. I met two of my best friends here, Valerie and Sherry. They've helped me through all the struggles I've been through, including my first winter, hard classes, being homesick, harder sport competitions, and much more, and we've made so many memories together that have made me who I am.

It made me realize that although home is great, it will always be there. This is my time to experience things I can't experience on a small island.

What do you hope to do with your Knox degree?

I hope to go to medical school, which has always been my dream and being at Knox has made that dream seem more attainable. The classes may be very challenging, but it is molding me into a critical thinker who will be ready to tackle whatever comes next in my life.