Samantha Orr with Dr. Kate Douglas and the SUNY chancellor

2019 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

Whether it was you on the exam table, or a loved one, we’ve all been in the emergency room or the doctor’s office with an uneasy feeling. Heart pounding, hands shaking, and pain radiating. The nurse made you feel better. She changed the subject, asked questions, and put you at ease. You’ll never forget that nurse.

Samantha Orr ’19 wants to be that memorable nurse- the one who comforts you when you’re scared and sits with you when you’re alone.

“It’s important for nurses to remember that they could be dealing with a huge event in the life of their patient,” said Samantha. “We have to remember to slow down and support our patients and not just focus on fixing them to open up another bed.”

Samantha, who was homeschooled her entire childhood, had never been in a formal education setting. She got married and focused on raising her family. But when her Dad developed health issues, Samantha became his caretaker – opening her eyes to the medical field. She decided to make it a career and enrolled in the SUNY Corning Community College nursing program.

“I knew SUNY CCC had a great reputation for its nursing program, and it’s been constant opportunities ever since I got here,” said Samantha. “I’ve been a freshman mentor, tutor, been involved in campus clubs, all while learning from fantastic faculty and administration.”

Samantha was recently named a SUNY Chancellor Award Winner for Student Excellence.

“I was very humbled and honored to win the Chancellor Award, and definitely a little shocked,” said Samantha. “Honestly it belongs to those who have mentored me during my time here because they are the ones who grew me into the person I am right now.”

One of those mentors, SUNY CCC Associate Professor of Chemistry Kamesh Narasimhan, says that Samantha is incredibly driven and proactive.

“I have known Samantha for the past couple of years as a professor, supervisor, mentor, and friend and she truly never ceases to amaze me,” said Kamesh. “She has the ability to understand and connect with all people. I have no doubt she will continue reaching new heights and achieving more accolades.”

After graduation in May, Samantha will be starting her new position in the Cayuga Medical Center Emergency Department.

“The emergency department is where I belong,” said Samantha. “I have a passion for the fast-paced environment. It also gives me the opportunity to be there for people on a different level.”

Samantha plans to get both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the next few years. For now, she is looking forward to starting her career in July.

“I’ve had jobs that are so draining you don’t want to go back, but even after working a 12-hour nursing shift, I can’t wait to go back the next day,” said Samantha. “This is me. I’m supposed to help people.”