It turned me into a leader full of confidence and that has helped me so much in the real world. I’ve grown a lot through BSU and wouldn’t have gotten that at my old college.
Samantha McGraw, ’20, came to Bridgewater State University seeking a home. The successful social media influencer found much more.
“I was able to get super involved. I made so many friends,” said McGraw, who transferred to BSU when now-closed Mount Ida College cut her degree program. “I needed that sense of community more than anything.”
McGraw, a communication studies major who was in the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, started a TikTok account out of boredom during the pandemic. Her communication skills and comedic takes helped her amass about 275,000 followers in seven months.
“I take real-life circumstances and add a lot of personality and a punch line,” she said of her TikTok videos.
She also incorporates underlying messages as she advocates for the LGBTQ+ and disability communities. McGraw even shared her own story of facing hip dysplasia, a progressive form of arthritis and other physical challenges.
As a Bear, she learned the importance of networking, a skill she uses living in Florida, which is home to many other social media influencers.
“Because I had that ingrained in my head, it’s given me lots of opportunities,” she said. “It’s really fueled my creative side and tied together why I studied communications.”
McGraw focused on public relations during her BSU studies. While her work is not traditional PR, she finds numerous parallels thanks to instructors such as Hank Sennott.
“He gave me the tools to use those skills and apply them in other areas,” she said.
Sennott, who teaches part-time in the Department of Communication Studies, was impressed by McGraw’s tenacity to overcome disabilities and her dedication to academics.
“She was very, very inquisitive. She was always interested in how (a concept) practically applies,” said Sennott, recalling her grasp of emerging platforms like TikTok. “I’m totally not surprised she’s as successful as she has been.”
McGraw’s social media notoriety led to deals with United Airlines, Oreo, and other brands to do product placement and promotion. She also works for the marketing agency Awestruck and tackles accounting projects on the side.
At BSU, McGraw discovered her ability to lead, especially through involvement in Greek life and other campus activities.
“It turned me into a leader full of confidence and that has helped me so much in the real world,” she said. “I’ve grown a lot through BSU and wouldn’t have gotten that at my old college.”
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