Alum Profile: Sam Bellis

Sam Bellis at Lake Tahoe
Maggie Hickey

Since graduating in the spring of 2019, Sam Bellis has had the opportunity to dive right into a job that applied the many skills she gathered during her time at Prescott College. After keeping a close eye on job boards upon graduation, Sam happened upon a position at the Galena Creek Visitor Center in Reno, Nevada. This position (Visitor Services Coordinator) focused on environmental education under the umbrella organization the Great Basin Institute. Sam was excited to note that this position didn’t pigeon-hole her and within the first few months on the job she was able to be involved in education, outreach, social media and website development, as well as volunteer management. She noted that in college she didn’t realize how broad a job could be. While Sam originally went into school with the hopes of becoming a park ranger, she was pleasantly surprised that this was only about a fifth of her job responsibility. The diversity of her work at the Galena Visitor Creek Center enabled her to learn new skills and set goals so she could continue to evolve as she worked.

Mid-March brought significant changes for many across the world as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. For Sam, she was lucky to keep her position. Her work at the visitor center became more focused on online outreach as opposed to the visitor interaction and event planning focus present in the early months of her contract. Being able to work from home has not only assured that Sam has had more responsibility in social media development and website design, but also has enabled her to gain more experience with grant writing--a skill that she had hoped to learn going into the position. Nevertheless, Sam has still had the opportunity to continue her work with the Great Basin Institute as quarantine measures continue.

Sam speaks highly of her experience at Prescott College and the ways that it has influenced her work today. She originally was drawn to Prescott College for the diversity of options and the ability for her to direct her own education. She commented, “My experience at Prescott College was more about personal growth than intellectual growth.” She noted how she had felt book smart, but not street smart when she began at Prescott College. Being able to self direct her education and work closely with mentors increased her ability to communicate, work in groups, and build her confidence in interactions. For Sam, it was important that the size of the school enabled her to build relationships with faculty in a way that supported her self directed learning. Over her time at Prescott College, she was able to build a “board” of about ten people that she could access for advice when it came to her education.  

Sam Bellis noted that students in college or recent graduates should look at the Great Basin Institute for available jobs, internships, and experiences. With various locations all over the western United States, the Great Basin Institute offers entry-level positions to a wide variety of people with focuses on ecological monitoring and restoration, trail maintenance, recreation management, and more. For more information, people can visit their website at, or stay updated on their available jobs at