Sam was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He wanted to attend a strong out-of-state engineering program at a smaller school where he could be a larger part of a community and get to know all his professors. After touring UP’s campus, he knew where he wanted to be.
Sam is researching nuclear fusion, harnessing the fusion of atoms to create a lasting alternative energy source that has the potential to solve the world’s energy crisis. Research using fusion for the production of electricity has been pursued for over 60 years. Fusion reactors can run on seawater. This topic so interested Sam that he became involved in an undergraduate research project with a professor in engineering prior to enrolling in the Grand Challenges Program.
“Dr. (Jordan) Farina has been a major influence in my life at UP,” he said. “He took a chance on me, and not only encouraged me to pursue my interest in nuclear fusion, but also personally made my research position over the summer possible. He stresses the quintessential question why, and that the world faces some very large problems that we have the opportunity to help solve.”
The Grand Challenges Program is a group of young engineers who are looking to tackle the world’s most pressing engineering challenges. “I am very excited to become one of them,” Sam said. “It’s an opportunity to take part in something much larger than myself… I look forward to working on a project in the future that may help one, or many, in their quality of life and to help make our world a little better.”
Some of Sam’s favorite moments are UP are his fusion research with Dr. Farina, his semester abroad in London and his “amazing” friends. “Going into college I was not expecting to encounter the amazing culture that the University of Portland has from the professors to the students. Everyone seems look out for one another and I think is something pretty unique to UP.”