Springdale native Sam Cushman always had a talent for communications. He wrote for high school and college newspapers and was recruited to major in communications at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.
He earned bachelor’s degrees in mass communications, political science and international studies from OBU in 2016. He spent the last two years of college studying abroad, earning a certificate of European studies from Salzburg College in Austria in 2015 and graduating from the one-year exchange program at Seinan Gakuin University in Japan in 2016.
“It was an interesting situation where I think I was maybe the first one who studied abroad twice at Ouachita and did an exchange program,” he said. “What I did was make a backup degree plan in case I did not get a scholarship to go to Japan. It turns out that I got that scholarship.”
As a result, he added international studies to his degree plan, delaying his graduation until completing the required credits, which he received overseas.
Cushman joined World Trade Center Arkansas in December 2016, and as the only communications professional, he handles photography and social media strategy and writes news articles and press releases. He also works to increase web traffic through content creation and marketing. In a year, web traffic doubled, and the number of average monthly users rose 71%. In December 2017, he launched a monthly podcast, which has listeners in 38 countries.
Some of his key accomplishments include establishing an exporter directory that includes more than 300 companies, most of which are in Arkansas, averaging about three media mentions for the organization monthly and building the center’s reputation as a leading authority on trade and diplomacy.
This summer, he plans to move to Japan and teach English. Over the next three to five years, he looks to become fluent in Japanese, integrate into the community as a cultural ambassador to promote cultural change and learn video production.
He’s a volunteer for Boy Scouts of America Westark Area Council and Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers. He enjoys going outdoors, hunting and helping on his cousin’s pecan farm near Fayetteville.