With three years as a member of the Hobart College basketball team under his belt, it’s no surprise that Sam Allen ’20 considers teamwork one of the most important skills he will bring this summer to his internship at the Colorado-based Aspen Institute. The institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank that provides a forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas.
The sociology major, who has a double minor in public policy studies and philosophy, will be working for the institutional advancement division of the institute. “I will have a wide range of responsibilities, most notably helping to plan and execute the Aspen Ideas Festival, a summit that is widely recognized as one of the most powerful and influential gatherings with respect to innovation and positive change,” he says.
Allen will also coordinate events, plan travel schedules, handle logistical tasks and communicate directly with the organization’s donor base.
The Aspen Institute first came on Allen’s radar through his connection to the Institute’s president and CEO, Daniel Porterfield, former president of Franklin and Marshall College. “Dr. Porterfield has been a personal mentor for me the past three years. I wholly support the Aspen Institute’s culture of excellence,” says Allen.
With a 4.1 GPA, Allen is a two-time winner of the Bob Arnold Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award, given in recognition of contributions to the community aligned with high academic achievement and dedication to varsity team. He was the recipient of the Chris Ventresca ’98 Memorial Award in 2017 and an award winner at the 2017 HWS Hackathon for Social Innovation.
He is the first member of the basketball team since 2014 to be selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. While a first-year, he was a member of the Liberty League All-Rookie team.
Allen says he is passionate about creating positive social change, and had considered taking a political route to work toward that goal. His interest in politics dates back to high school, when he was a local organizer for Bernie Sander’s 2016 presidential campaign in his hometown of Lewisburg, Pa., and a volunteer during Jenn Rager-Kay’s 2018 Pennsylvania State Representative campaign.
“The work Aspen does addresses many issues of social inequality that I hope to work to ameliorate, and does so without the division associated with partisan politics. In a unique way, the Aspen Institute recognizes a common humanity and advocates for change that is sincerely for the benefit of all members of this human community.”