News & Stories

Seizing the Day: Trinity Samson

What’s your favorite place?

For the adventurous Trinity Samson, it’s more a mindset than a location. “I’m big on putting myself outside my comfort zone,” says the College of Medicine student. 

That’s where she chases opportunities, like the one to do an orthopaedic research fellowship at Northeast Ohio Medical University and Akron Children’s Hospital for a research and enrichment opportunity between her second and third years of study in the College of Medicine. Trained as a dancer, she has hiked 1,100 miles of the Appalachian Trail and has been immersed in medical research since her first renal research internship as an undergraduate at Emory University in Atlanta. 

Grabbing onto life experiences has shaped Samson in many ways, including as a listener. She wanted to get hands-on patient experience early, so she became a licensed Advanced EMT while she was an undergraduate at Emory University in Georgia. “Working In downtown Atlanta, you never know what you’re going into. It’s not a structured situation. You learn to read people,” says Samson.

When Samson fixes her gaze on you to listen to a question, it feels like you have her undivided attention. And there’s a twinkle in her eyes, as if she were imagining all her adventures to come. 

The Pittsburgh native had many chances to travel as a child, and she always wanted to study abroad. After earning an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory, she did just that, entering medical school at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and completing the first two years of a five-year program there. While at Trinity College, she volunteered on a mental health hotline, Nightline. 

That experience, as well as her ongoing volunteering at Gigi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center in Lakewood, Ohio, has broadened her scope of understanding beyond her own experiences, she says: “You never know what is going on in other peoples’ lives. It is best to always treat others with compassion and be a listening ear if they are looking for one,” Samson explains.

A sudden turn

Even for the most self-directed person – and Samson is nothing if not that – life presents unexpected turns. When Samson’s father had a stroke, just as the COVID-19 pandemic opened, she wanted to be close to him and to her mother, who is his primary caregiver at their home in Pittsburgh. Samson shifted course.

With her husband – whom she married after her first year in Ireland – Samson moved to Lakewood (near Cleveland) in fall 2020 and matriculated into the second year of study in NEOMED’s College of Medicine. From Northeast Ohio, she can easily make weekend trips to see her family in Pittsburgh.

For the 2021-22 academic year, Samson is an orthopaedic research fellow in the lab of Fayez Safadi, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology. Dr. Safadi has also become her champion for the ambitious project of founding a student-run medical journal at NEOMED: the NEOMED Journal of Medical Sciences. The publication fosters the research and ideas of university students, consortium hospital trainees, faculty members and affiliates, providing them with a platform to publish their work. 

As the chief editor and president, Samson formed an executive board and developed the processes and procedures, including how articles are submitted, peer-reviewed and published. Samson sees this journal as an opportunity to highlight the research being performed at NEOMED and affiliated institutions and for students to take leadership positions. The NEOMED Journal of Medical Sciences has a rigorous review process led by a board of reviewers consisting of faculty and students, who help prepare manuscripts for publication. By hosting manuscript writing workshops, the editorial board hopes to guide individuals through the writing process. 

Updates on the journal will follow, but there’s more to this student’s story right now. 

Samson is also the team lead for an interdisciplinary student team in the NEOvations Bench to Bedside program — a collaboration with other Ohio universities to take medical solutions from concept to the marketplace. NEOvations will have a public showcase Thursday, Aug. 12, in the NEOMED Education and Wellness Center.  As a member of the team, Samson works on product development for the device with two other NEOMED medical students and Eric Miller, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Summa Health. 

More on that – and other adventurous opportunities seized by Samson – to come.