Fresh Encounters: Samantha DeNicola

Freshman Samantha DeNicola likes to zoom out and see the bigger picture. Whether it’s building a full-scale virtual replica of London at the age of 13, or pushing herself to make an impact on others lives, DeNicola’s focus on improving her surrounding community makes her approach to design and creativity intrinsically human-centered.

What does being at the Academy mean to you?
Having the opportunity to work with like-minded, creative people is one of the many reasons I am eternally grateful to be at the Academy. IYA provides me the opportunity to pursue each of my many interests, without having to choose one particular rabbit hole to jump solely into. The cohort mentality allows us to accomplish more together than we could individually, and encourages me to work harder.

What is something about the way the world works that you'd like to disrupt?
The common belief that one’s own success is more important than the success of the greater public. Growing up in the 21st century, there are so many corporate mindsets and unnecessary competition in the workspace. I believe that if people’s first thought was how they can help or inspire others, the world would be a happier place.

What are three goals you have this year?
1. Becoming skilled in new mediums that will allow me to broaden the impact I have on the lives of others
2. Finding a passion project and doing it with others in the cohort
3. Making meaningful and lasting connections

Who is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today? Why?
Elon Musk. He has made the largest impact in ending our dependence on oil, which will help us reverse the effects of climate change. He was one of the first entrepreneurs to prove that climate-friendly business can be extremely profitable.

What are some things you want to know about your future senior self?
How have I been able to positively impact others? In what ways I can have a larger impact on the world around me?

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
When I was 13, I built a full virtual replication of London, England.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Always stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

What is a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?
My grandma always told me it is important to focus on your happiness and creativity. By focusing on both, I was able to create an application that helps others practice their own happiness.


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
AirPods, travel-sized deck of cards, a reusable straw, a yellow legal pad, a novel, and a pencil for annotation.

Favorite app, service or website?

If you could be best friends with one fictional character who would it be?
Charles Irving Bartowski in the television show Chuck.