EVERETT — Samantha Coughlan, 18, graduated this spring from Everett High School and earned an associate degree from Everett Community College.
Question: Where are you headed next?
Answer: Wazzu (Washington State University). I just got back from orientation.
Q: What do you plan on studying there?
A: Biochemistry, molecular biology and pre-pharmacy.
Q: What got you into science?
A: I’ve always been extremely academic. I’ve always really strived in school and worked hard to be good at it. Science just seemed to be what clicked in my brain. I’ve never had rough spots with it. I’ve had to study really, really hard, but it’s always been exciting. I do research after school beyond what’s taught in class. I’m doing (organic chemistry) my first term in college. So I’m pretty excited.
Q: You’re involved in Camp Fire?
A: I’ve been on the Snohomish board for two years as well as the national board for two years. On the national board I work with other youth who want to get involved to give Camp Fire kids more voice. I’ve worked with programs like the Wohelo (Work Health Love) program to come up with lingo that’s more modern for kids today. Also, on the local board I act as a youth delegate, so I have the youth perspective for all the other adults in the room. I work with Teens in Action, as well, which is our older kids group. We go out to camp and do clean-ups and do other volunteer options.
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments in Camp Fire?
A: Probably making the national board. That was a pretty big deal. When I came on, they still hadn’t had an onboarding program yet, so kids came on and they didn’t know what they were doing. I worked with a girl who had been on for two years before me and we came up with program material to make kids feel more included.
Q: How long have you been involved with Camp Fire?
A: I technically became a member when I was 5, which is normal. It’s the youngest age. But my sister (Elizabeth) was a member before me, and my mom was her leader, so I was involved when I was 3 doing little kid program stuff. I’m a fourth-generation Campfire girl. I told my grandma I was doing this interview today and she said, ‘Oh, I did that when I was in Camp Fire. I interviewed with The Herald.’
Q: What is your goal after college?
A: I definitely want to stay involved in nonprofit work. But I’m highly excited about a career in pharmacy. I don’t know yet if I want to do research or be a general pharmacist.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
A: I’ve been working on my Wohelo for four years now and just figuring out how to keep up with school work and do that work, as well. My club was a club of four, with my sister and two of my older best friends, so they graduated out. I had to figure out how to work with them and then by myself. (Wohelo) is our biggest award. It’s really hard to earn. It’s not so much about earning it as the process you go through to get it. … I still have a bit to go.
Q: What other activities are you involved in?
A: I did Assisteens. It’s a national organization. I did the Everett chapter. It’s alongside the Assistance League, so we work in the thrift store and we also have other philanthropic programs. We create grooming kits to give out to kids in Snohomish County who don’t have access to toothpaste and toothbrushes. I also did Torch at my high school, Honor Society … I was full-time Running Start my junior and senior year, but I went back to the high school for sports.
Q: What sports did you play?
A: Tennis … I’ve been on the varsity team for four years and I’ve been co-captain for two years. I love it so much because the coaches are amazing.
Q: What’s your advice to others?
A: For Camp Fire, I would say you have to go your own path. Everyone else is going to do what’s best for them. Don’t be ashamed that you’re in a program that’s specifically a kid-based program. A lot of people think that by the time you’re 6 or 7, you’re the little kid selling candy and then you should drop out. But there’s so much beyond that.