SUU to Everywhere

Sami Wilson (’23)

Sami Wilson (’23)
SUU to Graphic Designer

Originally published on March 06, 2024.

An artist with a passion for design embroidered onto her heart, Sami Wilson grew up feeling unsuccessful in school. She insisted that college was not for her; until, that is, she discovered her high school’s design classes.

Suddenly, this Las Vegas native found herself graduating from Southwest Career and Technical Academy with a major in interior design, a minor in graphic design, and a surety that she had found her life’s calling. As Sami began to explore various colleges, she quickly realized the choice was simple, seeing as she is a fourth-generation T-Bird.

“So many members of my family have gone to SUU,” Sami says. “Both of my parents graduated from SUU, a few of my aunts and uncles, and one of my grandmas, all the way back to my great-grandma, who was here when SUU was the BAC (Branch Agricultural College).”

Sami’s parents are both SUU alumni. Her father, Riley Wilson (’01), graduated with a major in history, while her mother, Kristine (Liston) Wilson (’96), graduated with a major in sociology, and they reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, outside of her deep familial roots and ties to the institution, what really sealed the deal for her was attending a Red Riot: an overnight experience created to allow prospective students to explore campus life as a T-Bird. Participating in the event alongside two of her best friends (one of whom would later become her freshman-year roommate), they couldn’t help but fall head-over-heels for SUU and for the energy they felt here in Cedar City.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, this brand-new SUU alumna jumped at the chance to become a graphic designer for State Bank of Southern Utah, operating from the Cedar City corporate office. Alongside photography, Sami’s role is to create advertisements, informational materials, and other design assets. She strives daily to maintain and develop the company’s brand identity.

“My job is so rewarding. My worst fear going into the job force was working a job I hated,” Sami says. “I wake up every day excited to go to work, and that is amazing!”

She credits her SUU experience for much of her confidence, passion for design, and workplace success. Her professors motivated her to think outside the box, guided her through design portfolio reviews, and taught her to take pride in her work.

While juggling classes and homework, Sami was also part of the SUU Student Alumni Association — eventually serving as president of Student Alumni — and was an active member of the graphic design club. These opportunities for involvement enabled her to meet new people, become a capable leader, and build lasting connections with SUU.

“SUU helped shape me into who I am today,” she says. “Throughout a lot of high school, I was pretty shy and unsure of myself, but SUU taught me to advocate for myself and be confident in who I am and the things I create. The atmosphere at SUU allowed me to grow as an artist and as a person.”

Today, Sami can be found volunteering at local elementary schools, cheering on the T-Birds, attending live concerts, or working on her latest embroidery project.