Varied life experiences set cadet up for success

  • May 20, 2024
  • David Leder

Cecil Samson has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, and he plans to keep pushing himself once he completes his degree this spring.

The 25-year-old CWU business administration major has already spent seven years in the National Guard and has filled a number of key roles at the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) since 2020.

But those experiences haven’t translated into any long-term career goals for Samson. Instead, he plans to use his business degree, with a specialization in leadership and management, to pursue a career in finance.

“I figured I could do a lot of different things with a business degree, so that’s why I chose that route,” said the Pierce College transfer, who grew up in Bonney Lake and joined the military out of high school. “I’m hoping that, once I am done with my military service, I can use my degree to go into wealth management.”

Cecil Samson portrait

If he wanted to, Samson could very easily continue his ascent at the DOH. He started out as a contact-tracer when the pandemic started before transitioning into a position with the vaccine engagement team. The public messaging role required him to work closely with government and industry officials at all levels, disseminating vital information about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“That was my favorite job with the DOH because it was so high-level,” Samson said. “We were working with state legislators and federal government officials on a daily basis to help the public understand vaccination policies. It was really important work.”

From there, he joined the workforce support team for vaccination programs before assuming his current role with the Care-A-Van mobile vaccination team. He and his colleagues travel around the state every week to provide a variety of vaccinations, administer blood tests, perform health screenings, and more.

“I never thought I would be working in public health before the pandemic, but it has turned out to be a pretty cool college job,” said Samson, who is also a military-trained sniper.

He takes most of his CWU classes online so he can fulfill his duties with the DOH and the National Guard on the west side. Samson said his CWU professors have been very accommodating, and he has come away with many positive experiences during his time in the College of Business.

“A lot of my professors have been successful outside of higher education, and I have gained a lot from the real-world experiences they bring to the classroom,” he said. “That, and being connected with the ROTC, has helped me put everything into perspective.”

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This story appears in the latest edition of Voyage Magazine. The annual College of Business publication came out in April 2024.

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