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Monday, December 5, 2011

Follow Passion to Evolve Career Says Sammi Sinsheimer 11C

At five, Samantha “Sammi” Sinsheimer 11C wanted to be a writer, but life gave her an intense curiosity for learning. Now as a recent graduate she has taken on a new role as a staff member at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) on their Middle East & North Africa team. After moving post-graduation to Washington D.C., she earned “an internship at Search for Common Ground, an international nonprofit based in DC that focuses on conflict resolution, facilitates constructive Muslim-Western dialogue, etc.” The assignment couldn’t have been more perfect. “I'm the xenophile of my family. I'm fascinated by all things Middle East, but my first passion is religion and interfaith dialogue,” she explains.

While a freshman at Emerson College in Boston, “I started studying the Palestinian-Israeli conflict much more in depth than I ever had while I was younger. My existing knowledge was limited from my relatively one-sided grade school education, so I began poring over different news sites to learn about the different viewpoints, the history, and so on.” She investigated transferring schools when she “realized I could do something to satisfy that desire to know more.”

It didn’t take long for the native Atlantan to make Emory University her home to pursue Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, with a minor in political science. “I may not be doing what I wanted to do when I was a kid, but I'm working in a field that I am passionate about,” she says of her career. “I am completely content where I am today.”

Reflecting on her time as a student, Sinsheimer wishes “someone had told me that it wouldn't be ‘beneath’ me or a waste of time to have an unpaid internship after college. Not that an unpaid internship is by any means ideal, especially after spending so much time (and money) to obtain a degree from a top 20 school.” She offers advice to other young professionals. “I'm a firm believer in paying your dues, and I think in this economy it is a huge misconception to think that as a 22 year old, you are above working gratis for a few months. A check would have been nice, obviously, but I wouldn't trade the experience I got my first few months here for anything.”
She extends her recommendations to the community experience. “Live up your time at Emory - and in Atlanta - to the fullest. Academically, socially, everything. It's crazy to look back and see how fast those four years go.”

Sinsheimer highly values her Emory relationships. “I remember sitting in Dr. Gordon Newby's office towards the end of my senior year, lamenting that I had no idea what the coming months had in store. He said something to the effect of, ‘I'm not worried about you.’ That meant a lot. It reminded me to keep faith in myself. Those relationships are key.”

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