Creating Community Change

Samuel Lim
Photos and video by Brandon Parigo; interview by Stacy Downs; graphics by Sarah Richardson | Strategic Marketing and Communications

Recent graduate wants to lead a life of learning and teaching

2018 was a big year for this College of Arts and Sciences major. Not only did he graduate, he came out as the first bisexual president of the UMKC Interfraternity Council. Watch a video and read a Q & A to learn more.

Samuel Lim, ’18
Foreign Languages and Literatures
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Organizations: Sigma Alpha Epsilon, LGBTQIA Programs
Hometown: Syracuse, New York



Why did you choose UMKC?

I transferred here in 2015 to study with my voice teacher. I originally was a voice performance major, but realized I was also very interested in language and cultural identity so I decided to switch to French language and literature.



What are the challenges and benefits of the program?

The field is very interdisciplinary so you have to be able to navigate research in literature, linguistics and the other social sciences. If you learn to navigate these fields, you can explore so many perspectives of the human experience.



You just graduated. What’s next?

I’m part of Teach for America in Atlanta, where I’ll be teaching high-school social studies. While I’m there, I’ll be applying to graduate school for doctoral programs in history and French. I hope to become a university professor and work in student affairs.



Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I’ve learned that I am a queer identity and can embrace that. I’ve learned that no matter my age or resources, I can help my community and create meaningful change. I look for what’s missing and try to fill the void.

I’ve learned that I am imperfect, that I can fail. But I’ve also learned that it is completely OK to make a mistake, as long as you get back up and try again. By embracing my flaws and weaknesses, I can work to become a better human being and better member of society.



What did you see was missing?

When I first came to campus, sexual-assault awareness training in Greek Life. So we set up an info table at the Student Union and raised money.

Also, I came out in a public format this year: February 13. I came out in front of Greek Life. It wasn’t to benefit me, but to benefit others being comfortable being LGBT in a fraternity or sorority. UMKC is a comfortable campus to be out in, but I think everywhere, there’s still some discomfort with being LGBT and being Greek.

At Lavender Graduation this year, the UMKC Interfraternity Council was awarded the Collaborative Excellence Pride Award.



How has UMKC inspired you?

The people I’ve met in college and my student leadership opportunities have inspired me to be my authentic self and lead fearlessly.

In addition to academics, my college experience allowed me to discover that I can juggle and even do aerial yoga, things I once thought were impossible for me. I have struggled with a learning disability my entire life, especially in my middle school years. I always thought that I would be extremely limited in the academic work I would be able to achieve. It’s incredible to me how far I’ve come.



What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

Come to class even if you don’t have your homework. But more seriously, you never stop learning.



From across the country and around the world, our students come together in Kansas City to study business, medicine, theatre and more than 100 other academic areas. Roos become leaders in their fields and give back to their communities.

>Meet more UMKC students
>Visit UMKC
>Explore the College of Arts and Sciences

Tags: .
  • Recent UMKC News

    $20 Million Scholarship Article in The Kansas City Star

    KC Scholars partnership also in U.S. News and World Report … Read more

    Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons The 2015 … Read more

    Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never teaches about Kansas City’s racial dividing line Never … Read more