Home About the School Spotlights First-Year Student Came to SPP with Deep Interest in International News and Foreign Affairs

First-Year Student Came to SPP with Deep Interest in International News and Foreign Affairs

Samantha Stein, a first-year student at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy came to UMD from Florida to fulfill her dream of moving Washington, D.C. to work for the government on international issues. Stein was also one of four new Robertson Foundation for Government Fellows chosen from SPP this school year.

“Since high school I have had my heart set on moving to the Washington, D.C. area,” Stein says. “I was definitely drawn to the great reputation of the International Security and Economic Policy specialization of the SPP program at UMD and the opportunities with CISSM and START as well. I am thankful that the Robertson Fellowship made it feasible for me to make the big move from Florida to the DMV.”

“I believe my interest in international news and foreign affairs was inspired by my experience in the debate team in high school,” she adds. “After attending a UN intensive summer program in NYC, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in government service and specifically, international policy.”

Stein was able to explore her fascination with the international world while in college at University of Florida. She traveled to Valencia, Spain, to teach English. “The program I participated in connected me with two local schools where I went twice a week to spend an hour leading children ages 10-12 and 15-17 in conversational English practice,” she says. “That experience is one that I hold close to my heart and I still keep in touch with many of those students today.”

Stein says she decided to apply to become a Robertson Fellow after meeting Taryn Faulkner, assistant director of admissions and student affairs, at a graduate school fair in Florida. “Even though it sounded too good to be true, I knew I would be applying,” Stein says. “The aim of the Robertson Foundation Fellowship aligned perfectly with my government service career goal.”

“Growing up in South Florida and attending college in isolated Gainesville, I worked hard to gain internship experience and spend time abroad in order to make myself a more competitive applicant for government service,” she adds. “In a way, this fellowship is a culmination of my determination to get to DC. I am extremely appreciative to be a Robertson Fellow and hope to give back to the foundation someday as well.”

She adds that she has a deep interest in policy and sees the importance of public policy degrees. “Every sector needs policy specialists, and in my opinion, as our government has expanded over time. Public policy analysts have never been more critical to help organizations pursue their interests effectively,” she says.

“I plan to work for a federal government agency, hopefully in a capacity that involves immigration or Latin American policy. I would love to work for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of State upon graduation,” Stein says.

“This spring I’m interning in the Department of Homeland Security in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch, and hope to become more involved in immigration policy reform throughout my career,” Stein says. “I loved my time in Argentina and am fascinated by western hemisphere affairs, so this is another area in which I could see myself working in the Department of State.”