SPU Apparel Merchandising Major Nathan Samayo holding up a piece of fabric

Thinking about transferring to Seattle Pacific? Nathan Samayo shares about his experience as an SPU transfer student, and how he’s gotten connected to friends and community.

Nathan Samayo

Major: Apparel Design and Merchandising

Minor: Business Administration

Transferred from: Trinity Lutheran College

Hometown: Tacoma, Washington

How did you choose your major?

I’ve been interested in fashion since the beginning of middle school. My mom used to sew a lot. I picked up her sewing machine and started teaching myself.

I like clothes. I see fashion as a form of art. I like designing for other people. Along with my major, I’m also minoring in Business Administration. SPU focuses on vocation, and being able to find where your niche is. Where does your biggest passion meet the world’s biggest need? Ultimately, I’d like to use fashion as a part of social change and empowerment.

Where is your hometown?

I was born in Guam, and my family moved to Tacoma, Washington when I was one year old. I went to Guam last summer for the first time — it’s a totally different experience. We have a big family in Guam still, and I got to meet them.

What has it been like to move to Seattle for school?

Coming to the city is a totally different experience, especially because my culture is very family-oriented. Tacoma is very residential. It’s not as fast-paced as Seattle.

Have any of your professors become mentors for you?

I have a couple, actually. Raedene Copeland, [Professor of Clothing and Textiles] is my Ames Scholarship mentor. The Ames scholarship gives support to students from multi-racial backgrounds, low income families, and first generation college students. I am blessed to be a part of that. Dr. Copeland is the lead for the fashion merchandising major. She went to grad school within the fashion industry. I get to learn from her experience.

Jaeil Lee, [Professor of Clothing and Textiles and Director of Fashion Program], was a technical designer at Abercrombie and Fitch. Now she teaches here, and is a big part of the fashion program. My mentor off-campus is actually an adjunct professor here, too. Her name is Angela Bees. She’s the head of the Nordstrom Product Group, and she teaches a couple of classes at SPU.

How are you paying for college?

I’ve been working two jobs since my junior year of high school. I had a full ride at Trinity Lutheran College, but we all found out last January that our school was shutting down, and we’d have to transfer. SPU did their best to make sure I could come here.

If you’re concerned about costs, ask for support. Talk to your financial aid counselor. Look for scholarships, both inside and outside of SPU. Look for all opportunities that can help you pay for school.

What were the hardest parts of transferring?

I came from a semester school and transferred to a quarter school, so the credits looked very different. But SPU answered all my questions about that. They’ll help you figure out how your classes from your major at your old school translate to your major here. They’ll help make sure you graduate on time. SPU does a great job of figuring out a path for all your classes to transfer.

What resources helped you get support during the process?

The admissions counselors are your go-tos. They have everything that has to do with your application, financial aid, what needs to be submitted when, and anything you need to know for housing.

For more specific questions, you also have an academic counselor. They’re assigned by the first letter of your last name. They’re the ones you send your transcripts. They can help you fill in classes and fill education requirements to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time.

You also have a financial aid counselor, to make sure that you get all the scholarships you qualify for. They’ll also help you figure out how to make tuition payments while you’re in school.

What’s your advice for anyone considering SPU, but not sure if it’s the right fit?

Come on a group visit! Eat in the dining hall. I got to pick two classes to visit — “Fashion Merchandising” and “Clothing Construction.” I met professors in my major.

How did you make friends and get connected on campus?

If I could emphasize anything, it’s — find your people. The people you’re going to connect with, who you can be vulnerable with, who you can be frustrated with, who you can come to when school is hard, when life is hard. When you’re in need of support. Find mentors and other people who will continue to push you and stretch you into what they know you can achieve.

SPU encourages diversity and encourages people to hold each other high and lift each other, through all the experiences that we’ve been through. Comparing SPU to other places, I have never experienced being at a place that’s so joyful, exciting, and supportive, all at the same time.

Reach out to people who can support you. I talk with my adviser in my major, making sure that she knows what I’m looking for in my career. Being a student of color, I’m involved in Multi-Ethnic Programs. Off-campus, I’m involved in a life coaching group in downtown Seattle. On campus, I’m involved in clubs like the fashion club. We get to put on the SPU Fashion Show at the end of the school year. Students do everything, from music, to art, to creating the garments. I’ve been to Haven, which is a club that focuses on leaving a space open for students who are of the queer community. Every quarter, the Ames Scholars meet up to see how everyone is doing. If you’re looking to connect on campus, reach out. Build your own foundation on campus.

How are you preparing for life after college?

Let’s be real, going to college is about getting a job. It’s awesome to have a great experience in college — but it’s about getting a job.

Whatever major you’re in, our Mentor Program team will find someone who is an expert in that industry. I got to pick from a list of notable people in the fashion industry who are located in Seattle. After graduation, I want to work for American Eagle’s corporate office, as part of their design team. I’ve been working at American Eagle since my junior year of high school. My mentor can help me get there.

Professors also really encourage us to get internships. There’s the Nordstrom corporate office, REI, Tommy Bahama: to have those kind of places just downtown is really great.

SPU has supported me in discovering my identity and finding my vocation. They continuously help me find career opportunities, which is a big part of what college is all about.

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