CHHS Summer Standouts: Samantha Patrick finds passion for helping youth through Campus Connections

Samantha Patrick sits on the Gifford Building sign outside of the Gifford building at Colorado State University.

Giving back to the community is both a privilege and a responsibility – Human Development and Family Studies senior Samantha Patrick knows this well. Patrick, whose non-traditional educational journey led her to Colorado State University, is gaining valuable experience with the department’s Campus Connections program, paving pathways for youth in need.   

Patrick, who transferred from Front Range Community College, received the Wolves to Rams scholarship which was founded to support students who transfer from community college to CSU. The scholarship is paired with a 10-week summer research experience with Campus Connections. Patrick initially served as a mentor with Campus Connections during her spring 2022 semester. As she immersed herself in the experience, she became interested in extending her involvement this summer. 

Campus Connections offers an innovative service for youth exposed to adversities, providing them with mentoring in a unique structure. Patrick’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and delves into the pairing of university students trained and supervised by faculty and graduate students with expertise in mentorship and therapeutic interventions with community youth. 

Patrick has used this exceptional program and opportunity to not only enhance her own skills and knowledge but to positively impact youth in Northern Colorado.

Campus Connections responsibilities 

In her research role with Campus Connections, Patrick is working to conduct interviews that require her to examine mentor and mentee profiles to find the right fit for families, as well as go into detail about the program and the expectations Campus Connections has of youth and families. 

This responsibility is incredibly important, and Patrick finds great joy in creating these fulfilling connections. 

Samantha Patrick grins wearing a tie-dye Campus Connections tee-shirt.
Patrick began working with Campus Connections during her spring 2022 semester.

“I love meeting new families and getting kids enrolled into Campus Connections because I think it is such a wonderful program that has a lasting impact on all involved,” Patrick said.

The objective of Campus Connections revolves around finding meaningful connections and being able to create a real difference in the community. Throughout her time at CSU and this program, Patrick has developed a similar ambition.

“I really enjoy being of service to others,” Patrick said. “I have found that working with families in our community is beyond fulfilling, and it is truly meaningful, impactful work.”  

In addition to the interpersonal work, Patrick also analyzes data.  

“I am running statistical analyses on the data that has been collected on previous cohorts of Campus Connections mentees to examine the relationship between youth participation in mindfulness training and the parent-child relationship,” Patrick said. “I am also coding videos of the implementation of the mindfulness training that takes place at Campus Connections in order to provide feedback to program facilitators.” 

Campus Connections is a profound example of how crucial guidance can be for children. Thanks to the program and the determined individuals within it, Patrick included, youth in the community have the opportunity to thrive through impactful mentorship. 

CSU Human Development and Family Studies impact  

Much of the work that Patrick conducts for Campus Connections can be attributed to the Human Development and Family Studies program at CSU and her educational journey. 

Patrick spent two years at Front Range Community College where she earned her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Last fall, she transferred to CSU into the Human Development and Family Studies program where she further amplified her devotion to helping others, especially children.  

During her time at CSU, Patrick has discovered what makes the Human Development and Family Studies program special.  

“What I like most about my major is how this degree combines biology, psychology, and sociology to really dive deep into how individuals and families develop within their communities,” Patrick said. 

Patrick has been able to find an innate similarity between her compassion and those that are in her program.  

Sam Patrick smiles in a black polo in front of the Gifford Building's trees.
Patrick looks forward to graduating in spring 2023.

“I love that those who choose this path are often generous, kind, and compassionate people,” Patrick said. “It makes me feel good to know that there are so many empathetic people who want to be of service to those in need.” 

The knowledge she has gained from the program has proved to be beneficial and long-lasting. This intellectual and personal discovery has resulted in changed lives for the youth and enhanced enthusiasm for Patrick.  

“Every day, I utilize the knowledge and skills I’ve gained over the last couple of years to assist youth and families from our community,” she said. 

Empathetic aspiration is an attribute that does not only benefit the person holding these traits, but also for all those affected. Patrick continually exhibits these tendencies in her work for Campus Connections and the Human Development and Family Studies program at CSU. 

Patrick’s summer experience with Campus Connections is shaping her career trajectory. The impact is multi-layered: serving her community; contributing to research; supporting the next generation of college students; and finding great personal fulfillment in the process. 

Campus Connections still has mentor position openings for the Fall 2022 semester and will continue to accept applications through August 1.

Campus Connections is a program within the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, which is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.