Valuing others through leadership

Sam Oxley

With graduation on the horizon next May, Sam Oxley has some wisdom to share with us. “Always try to find value in someone else’s experience,” he said. “You never know what they might be going through and what you may learn from them.”

What a testament to civility.

Sam was elected president of his fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, in November 2017, and prior to that served as new member educator. He’s most proud of the growth, development, and successes of the members he’s mentored and led in this role.

His nominator wrote, “Sam’s capacity to bring others along and give space for the smaller voices likely stems from the grander view he takes of most situations and the time he devotes to identifying what unites people. He disarms every interaction he has with people by offering a calming smile, a genuine eagerness for others, and a moral center that is unwavering.”

This moral center extends far beyond personal relationships. Sam said, “Through my Green Engineering minor, I have learned how civilization’s vast consumption of resources and production of emissions is having a destabilizing effect on global climate. I believe this to be one of humanity’s greatest threats, and it motivates me to contribute to environmentally conscious energy and manufacturing solutions.”

As a chemical engineering major in the College of Engineering, Sam has had the opportunity to study in Denmark alongside 30 other Hokies at a Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory. He describes the experience as the highlight of his time at Virginia Tech. Sam found his Hokie home through his major and membership in the Honors College, his leadership in the Greek community, and his involvement in Hokie Camp—a pursuit inspired by his own Orientation and Hokie Camp experiences as an incoming first-year student.

Sam said, “After going through those programs and seeing the value they created for the university, I wanted to get involved, so I became a Hokie Camp counselor. Through meeting other leaders around campus and wanting to surround myself with them, I was drawn to join Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, which has had many leaders in New Student Programs and other organizations around campus.”

In a few short months, Sam will relocate to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to begin a full-time role as a manufacturing engineer with ExxonMobil. Sam said he uses his strengths every day to drive logical thinking, a dedicated work ethic, and intentional teamwork. It’s evident that his undergraduate experience has prepared him well for a meaningful career.

His nominator wrote, “It is the intersection of Sam’s personality, skill, and belief in others that enables him to bridge differences among people so they can reach a place of mutual respect.”