As a graduate student, there is a lot to manage besides the assignments listed in the syllabi. Will the financial aid come through? Is the required coarse work met? What if a life event comes up that interferes with studies?
For Sam M. Walton College of Business students, Anita Sambor is the go-to person. “I’m here to make their life easier as much as I can,” she says.
Sambor began her duties as assistant director of student services at Walton College’s Graduate School of Business in May 2015. In her role, she guides somewhere around 225 students each semester through the graduate school process.
Helping students is Sambor’s calling. She also knows what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land, having moved to the United States from her native Poland in 2005. She was born in the southern Polish city of Tychy, which has a population of about 130,000, and grew up with a passion for volleyball. Sambor played not only for her high school but on college teams as well.
For Sambor, volleyball wasn’t merely a sport. Time management, assisting on plays, when to lead and when to follow are skills she applies to her job now. “That’s the great benefit of being on a team with others,” she says.
She attended the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (now the City of Oxford College) in Oxford, England, and moved to Miami on a volleyball scholarship to attend Florida International University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in international business and her MBA with a marketing concentration.
After earning her degrees, Sambor stayed with Florida International to work for the graduate school, where she eventually became manager for the university’s Online Master of International Business. During that time, she met her husband, Robert, and they are the parents of two young daughters.
With a family, she and her husband yearned to move to a less populated area where she could continue her role with student services. The University of Arkansas, with its reputation, high ranking and location in the Ozarks, was enough to get Sambor excited. “Everyone at my previous job was talking highly of the university,” she says.
When she visited the campus, she was first struck by the beauty of the architecture, some of which dates back to the 1800s. She also was impressed with the university’s steady growth. When she was offered the job, it was a no-brainer. “Definitely, it was an easy decision,” she says.
The Ozarks have been a great setting for one of her favorite pastimes: enjoying the outdoors, whether it be running or participating in a sport, like volleyball. On other days, she perfectly content to create a dish from her native Poland, such as krokiety, a kind of croquette that can be stuffed with cabbage, mushrooms or ground turkey. She also bakes bread on a daily basis and will include her oldest daughter when making cupcakes or muffins.
“It takes a village to raise a child, so we picked a village,” Sambor says.