by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Environmental Trailblazer

Seventeen-year-old Sammie Dorfan and her family have lived in Carmel Valley for the past six years. “We live in the Torrey Hills community, near Sage Canyon Park,” shared Sammie, whose favorite local hangouts include Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. “I enjoy the freedom that I feel living in Carmel Valley.” With the affection she feels for her community, it is no surprise that Sammie has a fierce passion to protect the environment and currently makes it her mission to do so.

student_dorfan_1“I started the inaugural Eco Club at my high school and involve myself with the organization I Love A Clean San Diego as much as I am able to,” shared Sammie, who also makes an effort to live a sustainable life by being vegan and limiting trash output. Perhaps one of her most ambitious efforts is her current role on the youth advisory council for Keep America Beautiful. “It is a group of 10 high schoolers throughout the nation who serve as ambassadors for the organization and for environmental service learning,” stated Sammie. As a member of the council, Sammie is responsible for leading service learning projects at her school and within her community. “Currently, I am leading a project called ‘Tree Trails Project,’ where myself and a group of other environmentally conscious students are working to plant some trees in a nearby canyon,”  she explained.

As if that weren’t enough, Sammie is also involved in her school’s student government. “I got involved during my freshman year and am planning to run for president next year,” she shared. In addition, she is a member of her school’s Israel Club and the International Immersion Program, which aims to create a welcoming environment for Chinese students. Sammie affirmed, “I enjoy learning about different cultures.”

Because Sammie finds a great deal of inspiration through reading and writing, it seemed a natural fit for her to join the school newspaper her freshman year. “I am now co-editor in chief,” she noted. Aside from her involvement in school clubs, Sammie plays tennis and remains focused on her studies. “My favorite subject is AP Biology,” explained Sammie. “I love exploring how we, as humans, have evolved into the complex beings that we are today and all the scientific processes that contributed.”

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As for her future, Sammie plans to attend college – perhaps UCLA – where she wants to major in biology and double minor in environmental science and journalism. “I also want to be a cardiovascular surgeon when I am an adult,” said Sammie. Already coming this far, there’s no doubt Sammie will accomplish whatever she puts her mind to.


Name: Sammie Dorfan (17)
School: San Diego Jewish Academy
Grade: 11
Parents: Joel and Barbi Dorfan
Siblings: Rikki (13) and Jess (20)
Favorite Local Spots: Urban Plates, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, Vitality Tap,
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve