Samantha Couto ’13 Pursues Career as a Child Life Specialist

Prior to her senior year as a Human Development major at Washington College, Samantha Couto ’13 decided to volunteer in the Pediatric Department at Anne Arundel Medical Center, where she learned to help normalize the environment for patients and their families by taking kids to the playroom, holding infants, and entertaining children in their hospital rooms. This experience inspired Samantha to write her senior thesis on Child Life Specialists and their interactions with siblings of ill patients. She then decided to pursue a graduate degree in the same field.

Samantha recently began her first year of graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh studying Applied Developmental Psychology with a concentration in Special Healthcare Needs and Child Life. Her goal is to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) in pediatric hospitals, which can be a tough job to conquer as it is very competitive field, numerous internships are required, and practicums and exams need to be passed in order be certified.

Indian Creek School (ICS) helped Samantha prepare her for this path by teaching her how to go out of her comfort zone and pushing her academically. Her AP Language & Composition class with retired ICS faculty member Mrs. Eileen Mattingly especially helped her become a better writer, learner, and communicator. Additionally, Samantha credits ICS with helping her learn about the strengths and weaknesses in her own individual learning style. This knowledge his enabled her to become a strong advocate for herself in college and graduate school.

A long-time “faculty kid” (she is the daughter of current faculty members , Jill and Brad Woodward), Samantha’s favorite memories at ICS include performing in numerous fall plays and spring musicals (her favorite roles were Jan in Grease and Margot in The Diary of Anne Frank). “Being surrounded by friends and singing before school started was a great start to the day!” Samantha was also the Pi Recitation Contest winner in Middle School.

Samantha gives the following advice to her fellow Creekers:
- Learn to feel comfortable with your teachers.
- Be willing to advocate for yourself in every class.
- Find your passion and go for it!