Sam Cartwright

In each issue of Keynotes, we profile one of the many student assistants who help make the Middlebury Libraries run smoothly. This issue features one of our Library Assistants in Special Collections and Archives, Sam Cartwright.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Ogden, Utah. It’s in a beautiful location, has a great history, and is a place I’m very fond of.

Why did you decide to come to Middlebury?

I found out about Middlebury while researching undergraduate geography and geology programs. I liked how remote and novel the location would be, but for a while didn’t think I would be able to get in and didn’t plan on applying. In the end, Middlebury really distinguished itself from other schools by how much interest they showed in me as a possible (and eventually accepted) applicant. They really seemed to want me to come here and I’m glad I followed along.

What is your major?

I am a geology major.

What do you enjoy most about geology?

There’s a lot of beauty and mystery in geology.  As for the curriculum at Middlebury, there’s a strong focus on fieldwork and writing which I really appreciate. The opportunity to spend several hours a week doing work outside is not only fun but rather unique and learning how to write about rocks is a never-ending challenge. It also helps that all the faculty are great to work with and there’s good camaraderie among the students in the major.

What do you enjoy about your job in the library?

Special Collections and Archives is a wonderful corner of campus and working there is easily one of my favorite things about being at Middlebury. Joseph, Rebekah, Danielle, and Mikaela are lovely people to work with and I always enjoy getting new projects to work on. There’s always something interesting to do, whether it’s digging through the stacks, writing blog posts, making gifs and video clips, or even being an emcee at screenings. My main focus is on working with the 16mm film collection in the archives and my favorite part of the job is selecting films to be digitized then getting to see the history they contain, which has often been hidden for decades.

What do you do for fun?

I am a sculptor and photographer. I’ve most recently been learning how to make tintypes which has been a fun challenge. I help run the Middlebury Radio Theater of Thrills and Suspense, a student organization that performs vintage and original radio plays live on WRMC every Saturday evening. I also help out at the Middlebury College Observatory when they have open house nights in the fall and spring.

Where is your favorite place to visit when you aren’t at Middlebury?

Southern Utah’s National Parks and Monuments are great places to visit, especially Bryce Canyon, but hiking in the mountains near my house with my dog, Kona, is one of my favorite places to be.

Do you have a favorite place on campus? Where?

I’ve always been attracted to the quiet atmosphere, warm aesthetic, and historic context of Starr Library and the Abernethy Reading Room. Getting to go up in the Old Chapel cupola on assignment for Special Collections was a unique experience and it’s definitely one of my favorite places I’ve explored here.

Do you have a favorite place in Vermont off-campus?

Downtown Middlebury is great, especially when visiting with friends and loved ones after a long week. Anywhere outside during peak foliage is also sublime.

What do you hope to do after your career at Middlebury?

I’m hoping to make my way to graduate school and become a planetary geologist. I’d love to focus on research and science communication.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I wouldn’t be here and doing what I’m doing without the support of my wonderful mother, grandmother, sister, and nephew!