Sam's passion for orcas was first ignited when she watched the movie Free Willy. She has worked with the UK's marine mammal rescue charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue since 2007 as a medic, course instructor and out-of-hours coordinator. She was formerly part of the head office staff and in 2018 was appointed Thames region coordinator, her first task assessing a lone beluga whale in the river after just one week in post. Sam also volunteers with the Orca Research Trust and Free Morgan Foundation, led by expert orca scientist Dr. Ingrid Visser. It was during Sam's time working with Dr. Visser in New Zealand that she had her first encounter with wild orcas. Sam has since observed orcas in the UK, Pacific Northwest, Iceland and Strait of Gibraltar.
Since 2009, Sam has worked in the field of captive cetacean welfare. She has led the literature search on orcas for the Non-Human Rights Project and presented at the Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare scientific conference, co-authoring a talk on human behaviour change for captive orcas with Dr. Visser. Sam has previously held the positions of Communications Chair for the World Cetacean Alliance and Chair of the Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition, the latter for which she remains on the Management Committee. Sam has authored cetacean-related articles for the Huffington Post, One Green Planet, and a number of other platforms; you can find her articles here.
Sam holds two undergraduate degrees, one of which is a BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology from Durham University. She has also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently researching her dissertation to top up to MSc, focusing her thesis on cetacean welfare assessment protocols.