Samantha J. Pedder (Outstanding Recent Alumna)

B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Science, 2011

Samantha J. Pedder completed a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science along with a minor in Geographic Information Systems in 2011. From November 2011 until last week, she was employed as the Hunting Outreach Coordinator in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Information and Education. This past week she began a new position with the National Shooting Sports Foundation as Manager of Diversity and Outreach, and has relocated to Newtown, Connecticut.

Samantha worked with the Game Commission throughout her college career, beginning in 2007 as an intern in the Southwest Region office. She had a variety of duties with many focusing on teachers’ workshops, youth field days, and women’s programs. In 2010 she was a wildlife biologist aide and assisted with surveys of woodrats, ospreys, pheasants, and bats, and with the creation of habitat management plans for many state game lands. In summer and fall 2011, she worked as a technical staff assistant with Westmoreland Conservation District and Penn State Extension, and her duties included mapping and data management related to Marcellus Shale wells, nutrient management plans, and other projects.

For four years (2007-10), Samantha coordinated the Women on Target Clinic for the National Rifle Association, encouraging and instructing women to shoot firearms. 

In her position as Hunting Outreach Coordinator, Samantha’s work focused primarily on recruiting, retaining, and reactivating Pennsylvania’s hunters. She was involved with many efforts including the new GoHuntPA campaign, Junior Pheasant Hunts, and Youth Field Days. She worked closely with the National Archery in the Schools Program and coordinated Pennsylvania’s statewide tournament. She gave national presentations on our state’s programs and collaborated with individuals nationwide to address the many problems that state fish and wildlife agencies face in maintaining a viable population of hunters. 

Samantha has also volunteered her time to encourage youth and other young adults who aspire to work in the wildlife and fisheries professions. The past two years she has taken time to staff our department’s booth at the Great American Outdoor Show. She has served as a Board Member at Large for the Pennsylvania State Chapter of The Wildlife Society since 2012.

Samantha has maintained contact with the Penn State’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society (she served as president of the student chapter during her senior year) and has given presentations on career opportunities to club members. In March 2014 she hosted two seminars on professional development as part of the Student Conclave for more than 45 students from across the Northeast. In October 2014, Samantha participated in the College of Ag Sciences Alumni Society’s Mentoring Day and shared her career experiences.

Her past honors include the John George Student Conservation Award, 2011 from the School of Forest Resources; the Frank Felbaum Award, 2011 from the Pennsylvania State Chapter of The Wildlife Society in 2011, and the John Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award, 2010 from the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.  In spring 2010, she received first place in an Agriculture Communications Contest at the National Young Farmer’s Education Association Convention in Mobile, Alabama.

Samantha is on track to complete a Master of Natural Resources degree from Utah State University in May 2015. Her graduate project was funded by The Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, and involved a national survey of all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies regarding resources allocated to recruit, retain and reactivate hunting and shooting sports participants. The results will be used as foundational data to support a National Action Plan for Hunting and Shooting Sports Programs created by the Wildlife Management Institute and The Council. 

Samantha was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors of our Forest Resources Alumni Group.

Samantha is a volunteer Hunter-Trapper Education instructor, and is active with a few different sporting groups as time permits. When not working or studying, she spends time on outdoor pursuits including hunting, fishing, and shooting.