Although he grew up just outside of Ann Arbor in Dexter, Michigan, it still seems preordained that Sam Krahn would attend Wayne State University.
As a boy, Krahn developed a connection with and love for Detroit through regular visits with an aunt and uncle who live in the adjacent Woodbridge neighborhood. And where better for a self-described “big car nerd” to study than the Motor City? But the final push toward Midtown was his desire to swim in college.
Krahn arrived at Wayne State knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He grew up reading Car and Driver, Top Gear and automotive news websites, and he wanted to write about cars.
“My motto has always been, If I’m not passionate about the thing that I’m doing in some way, what’s the point of doing it?” he said. “I put a lot more of an emphasis on having an interest in what I do rather than the money I make doing it.”
Krahn also has a passion for swimming. He says the rigorous schedule — with one of two daily practices beginning as early as 6 a.m. — forced him to budget his time well and focus on his dual majors of journalism and public relations in the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts.
“We have a really good culture of support on the team,” said Krahn. “My coach’s [Sean Peters] priority was always, ‘You are a student-athlete,’ with an emphasis on being a student first — so the only way you can be a good swimmer on the team is if you’re a good student.”
In addition to studying and swimming, Krahn landed a journalism internship at Muscle Cars and Trucks, a startup website where he was able to write several articles a day about things like Mustangs, Camaros and off-road vehicles.
“That was a fantastic experience because I grew my writing skills considerably, got to learn SEO [search engine optimization] and all the important foundational journalism skills,” he said. “And it was cool to be at the very start of something for that website because I got to see month-on-month growth, what worked and what didn’t when we tried new things.”
Krahn parlayed that experience into a public relations internship at Lambert, a public relations agency.
Now, four years after arriving at Wayne State, Krahn is graduating with a 3.97 GPA with dual majors and a spot on the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic Excellence Team.
As for the career goal he set when entering college? After graduation, Lambert has hired Krahn to work for its automotive and mobility team in Detroit, working with a variety of clients.
“It’s a pretty comforting feeling,” he said, “but I also know I put a lot of work into it. I was busy during college. Having several internships and being on the swim team was a lot, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.”