Samantha Williams came to Tabor in 2016 as an international student from Jamaica and enrolled in the MBA program in the athletic leadership track. Having had a successful undergraduate experience at the University of Miami (FL) as a student-athlete, she excelled in her studies and in track and field. She was a triple-jumper and competed with some of the top athletes in the world at the time (top five jumper in program history). Samantha served as a graduate assistant in Tabor’s track program, providing coaching support and recruiting skills.
She said: “I attribute the turning point of my Christian maturity to my time at Tabor. With little distraction and even less entertainment options, I filled my downtime with getting closer to God. Tabor was a different environment for me, though I had been well-traveled in the U.S. I’d never lived in a small town. The transition was difficult initially, but I soon understood the lessons God had been trying to teach me being in a place of ‘isolation.’ Partially because of location, but even more so in my worldview.”
Through time studying and working at Tabor, she was able to gain clarity on the direction of her life, among other decisions she simply thought God had forgotten. Samantha said Jeremiah 29:13 became more real to her, as did Hebrew 12:11. “No longer did I feel like ‘WHY am I here?’ but a ‘God saying WHAT do you want me to learn and do in this time?’ A complete transformation took place during those two valuable years in Hillsboro. I gained a renewed mind and outlook.”
Samantha is now a doctoral student at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. She reflects on her Tabor experience as formative to her studies in higher education and in her area of student affairs. She said, “I am extremely grateful for the classes taken within my master’s program at Tabor. I still have all the recommended texts on leadership and leading as a Christian. Many of the lessons and readings have challenged my outlook on how I work within the area of a student affairs practitioner.”
Samantha credits the emphasis on servant leadership at Tabor as redefining her approach to working with students and alongside colleagues. Following the lead of Christ and His example of obeying her calling, as well as putting others first has resulted in invaluable fostered relationships and changed lives.
Williams reflects, “As I continue to use my own life as an example of what persistence looks like, coupled with having a relationship with God, I have experienced a renewed love and appreciation for what I do in making a difference in the lives of all who interact with me.”