Formerly a speech-language pathologist, Samaniego came to higher education as her second career. She started out at Otero College as Director of Communications and PR, where she expanded her role to work in grants and fundraising. After transitioning to Colorado Northwestern Community College as the Director of the Foundation, Samaniego continued to expand her skills and leadership into alumni relations, branding, and PR. Now Executive Director of Advancement, Samaniego serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

Her AMI project, Rural Education, Access, and Community Hope has developed into her business, Corner of Wild and Free. Samaniego provides coaching and workshops on authentic living and leadership and provides consulting to rural nonprofit organizations and teams.