Blending science and the arts: Sam Weber ’18

Sam Weber ’18 says he’s the “type of person who likes to stay busy.” That’s an understatement.

Story by Susan White

As a student researcher, Sam Weber trained others working on cell biology experiments and explored the use of the performing arts in public health education. And in spring 2018 he directed his second 24-Hour Musical, Heathers the Musical. The Dedman College Scholar and University honors student graduated in May 2018 with B.S. degrees in biological sciences, and health and society, and a B.A. in chemistry, with minors in Latin, classical studies, musical theatre, history and human rights. The senior dynamo is currently weighing several post-SMU academic opportunities that will lead to his ultimate goal: medical school.

Growing up in Overland Park, Kansas, Weber became fascinated with science by watching Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The 2001 film, the first 3-D animated feature made outside Hollywood, was directed by SMU alumnus John Davis ’84. Weber, whose mother is a nurse, imagined being Jimmy while playing with his junior chemistry set. Later, when he stumbled upon the Harry Potter novels and films, he says his interest in science became intertwined with magic.

In seventh grade, after Weber heard a neurologist speak to his class about the wonders of the brain, he began to make the connection between science and medicine. While his fellow students were enthralled with the brain-shaped gummies she passed around the class, Weber locked onto the floating pink blob in a jar she had brought for show and tell. “She said the brain was ‘the last true frontier of science,’” he recalls.

In high school he straddled the two worlds of science and art – taking AP biology and chemistry courses and working downtown at a neurology lab, while participating in theatre, rehearsing for plays and musicals nightly. He thought that when he got to college he would have to keep his two loves – the sciences and the arts – separate.

But when he got to the Hilltop, he says he realized he could successfully combine those seemingly disparate worlds. As a University honors student in on the pre-med track and through numerous campus opportunities, SMU  enabled him to explore his interests in the performing arts. In his senior year, he even found interesting ways to fuse his interests.

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