Sam West ’19
Graduate school and year:
The University of Georgia School of Law, 2022
Current city and job:
Atlanta, GA | Counsel to the Majority Leader, Georgia House of Representatives
What first interested you in your career? How did you discern your calling?
When I came to Covenant, I was unsure what my career would look like after college. I had no firm vocational calling, beyond a general interest in research and writing of a historical nature. Over the course of my four years, I developed a strong interest in law school as a tool to advance the type of public policy that will leave the world a better place.
My first exposure to the possibility of a legal career was through the faculty in Covenant's history department where I worked as a TA/tutor. They recognized my talent in the area long before I did and encouraged me to pursue law school—even loaning me several study books for the LSAT. Without their support and encouragement, I never would have pursued law school or a career in the legal field.
What has your career path looked like since graduating from Covenant?
After graduating Covenant, I spent three years at the University of Georgia School of Law where I served as president of my class and graduated cum laude. During law school I began working at the state Capitol as an extern and, after graduation, was given the opportunity to continue working with the state House as part of the House Republicans' campaign arm. After the election was over and I had passed the bar exam, I returned to the policy arena as counsel to the newly elected majority leader, Rep. Chuck Efstration. I now serve as his senior staffer, overseeing an office of three employees and advising the leader on legal and political matters.
I enjoy the ability to have a real impact on people's lives through the policy that we create through legislation. The Georgia House of Representatives deals with major issues that, unlike much of what happens at the federal level, has a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of everyday people. From reforming Georgia's mental healthcare system to protecting public safety in our communities, the work we accomplish has done much to better the lives of all Georgians.
Looking back now, how did Covenant prepare you for doctoral work and your career?
Covenant's rigorous coursework in the history department more than prepared me for the difficulties of law school and a career where outside-the-box thinking is a constant necessity. The small class sizes and intentional efforts by professors to build friendships with students is something I now know I would not have found at larger schools.
The area in which Covenant particularly excels is by going beyond the obvious kingdom connection that exists in our required theology curriculum and truly teaching us how to integrate our faith into all aspects of our career. For example, historiography doesn't just teach us how to be historians, it teaches us how to be Christian historians. While politics is often a messy field in which to work, there is perhaps no place where a kingdom-minded approach is more needed than in the halls of government.
In what ways does your faith inform your career and how have you continued growing
in your faith since Covenant?
Covenant taught me how to be a Christian beyond the walls of the church or home setting. By emphasizing Christ's preeminence in all things, Covenant prepared me to live out my faith in all aspects of my life.
One of the greatest lessons I've learned from God's faithfulness in my post grad life is patience. When I graduated Covenant, I was anxious to get into the right law school, land externships with the right people, and eventually earn a job in the right industry. Over the last four years, however, I've come to recognize that He operates on a different timeline than the rest of us—and His timing is always perfect. Even though doors may close in the form of not getting into a particular externship program or in the form of former employers losing elections or leaving office, He is always faithful to His people.
No matter the momentary setbacks I have encountered, God has always opened the right doors at the right times—even though those doors might not have looked right to me at the time. By trusting in His wisdom, I have seen His faithfulness place me in what ultimately turned out to be the right law school, externing for the right people, and working in the right industry. His plan will always turn out better than our plans, and for that I am eternally grateful.
What advice would you give students who are considering Covenant?
Ask yourself what you want to get out of your college experience. If you want a college that will reinforce your Christian beliefs while also encouraging you to find your true “little c” calling in the professional world, then Covenant is just the place for you.
For those interested in careers in politics or government, utilize your summers wisely. During my Covenant summers, I spent time interning for a congressman twice and also worked on a statewide political campaign. These experiences, some of which allowed me to gain course credit, helped me develop the relationships necessary to break into a career in the political industry.
I would also encourage students to utilize the resources of Covenant's pre-law department. Dr. Follett does an excellent job of helping prospective lawyers find courses outside the history department that will be helpful in a legal career. Two of the most helpful for me were a logic course offered by the psychology department and a business law class offered by the business department).
Why did you choose Covenant?
I chose Covenant because I wanted to gain a high quality education without compromising my faith or beliefs.
What are some fond memories or a favorite story from your time at Covenant?
Taking a road trip with Dr. Green and five of my fellow history students to present papers at a history conference at Calvin College is one of my favorite memories. Over the course of the 22-hour round trip drive, I developed relationships that will last a lifetime.
Undergraduate Departments, Majors, Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, and Programs
- Arts Administration
- Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
- Journalism and Society
- Medical Ethics Consultation
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
- Art, 2-D Concentration
- Art, 3-D Concentration
- Art, Art History Concentration
- Art, Graphic Design Concentration
- Art, Photography Concentration
- Art minor
- Art History minor
- Biblical & Theological Studies
- Biblical & Theological Studies, Missions Concentration
- Biblical & Theological Studies minor
- Biblical Languages minor
- History of Christianity minor
- Missions minor
- Youth Ministry minor
- Biology, Biomedical Concentration
- Biology, Environmental Concentration
- Biology, General
- Biology, Health Professions Concentration
- Biology minor
- Business, Accounting Concentration
- Business, Finance Concentration
- Business, Marketing Concentration
- Sport Management
- Business minor
- Sport Management minor
- Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration
- Chemistry, General
- Biochemistry minor
- Chemistry minor
- Computer Science
- Computer Science minor
- Community Development
- Community Development minor
- Economics minor
- Education Studies
- Elementary Education (P-5)
- Secondary Education Certifications through MAT program
- Education minor
- Natural Science, Pre-Engineering Studies Concentration
- English, Writing Concentration
- English minor
- Writing minor
- Coaching minor
- History, Art History Concentration
- Political Science
- International Studies
- History minor
- Political Science minor
- Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations
- Mathematics minor
- Music, Church Music Concentration
- Music, Creative Studies Concentration
- Music, General Music Concentration
- Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration
- Music, Music Education (Pre-MAT) Concentration
- Music, Organ Performance Concentration
- Music, Piano Pedagogy Concentration
- Music, Piano Performance Concentration
- Music, Vocal Performance Concentration
- Music minor
- Philosophy minor
- Physics minor
- Pre-Law Studies
- Pre-Medical Studies
- Pre-Nursing Studies
- Pre-Physical Therapy Studies
- Psychology minor
- Sociology, Family Studies & Social Work Concentration
- Sociology minor
- Theatre minor
- French minor
- Spanish minor