Samantha Buitrago | Student Story

Samantha Buitrago | Student Story

As college tuition and expenses continue to rise, many students tend to turn away from the option of attending private institutions to pursue Christian higher education. “With both of my sisters attending nursing school, I knew there was no way my family could afford to send me to college as well,” freshman Samantha Buitrago said. “My desire was to attend a Christian college, but I knew it wasn’t a possibility without assistance.” 

That’s when Buitrago learned about Jessup’s Upward Bound scholarship, a scholarship aimed at helping students from challenging circumstances who demonstrate financial need or might not otherwise have funding or the ability to attend college. “If it weren’t for the scholarship, I wouldn’t be at Jessup,” she said.

Passionate about deepening her relationship with Christ, Buitrago appreciates Jessup’s faith integrated curriculum. “When I first came to campus, I knew right away that Jessup was the University for me. I liked the opportunity to be part of a faith-based campus community where prayer, biblical truth, chapel and growing in Christ is a priority. Growing my faith is the most important thing to me.”

As a psychology major, Buitrago is drawn to the field largely due to challenges her family encountered with mental health. “My experiences have given me a lot of compassion for those who are suffering with mental illness. Fortunately for us, navigating the impact of mental illness actually helped our family grow closer, but for many, that’s not the case.” 

After graduation, she anticipates working on the criminal side of psychology, perhaps one day doing behavioral analysis work for the FBI. “The experiences I’ve had growing up motivate me for what I want to do in the future.”

Buitrago also is part of Jessup’s concert choir performing at local churches and events. The group also joins the University Choir and Orchestra at the Celebrate Christmas concerts in the fall and the Night of Classics concerts in the spring, giving the opportunity for these young women to experience both a small group feel where they can be trained and also have the experience of performing upper-level repertoire with full instrumentation.