Jewish Girl of the Week – Samantha

What brought you to DC?
I grew up in Montgomery County and then went to college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (Go Badgers!!!), but when I decided to go to law school, I knew the DC area would be the best fit for me. I am currently a second year law student at American University and absolutely love living and going to school in DC.

What is your favorite part about being a DC Jew?
This may sound cliche, but my favorite part of being a DC Jew is the Jewish community. Young Jewish people in DC are really dedicated to giving back to the community in charitable ways, so it’s a great community to be a part of. Also, the saying that “wherever you go there’s always someone Jewish” really holds true in this city. No matter where I am in DC, I’m always meeting new Jewish people who are so outgoing and friendly.

Tell us the most important life lesson that your grandmother taught you.
The most important life lesson that my grandmother taught me is to make new friends, but keep the old. Before cell phones and Facebook, my grandma always had an amazing knack for keeping in touch with everybody. I’d like to think that I inherited that from her, and I always make an effort to remain close with old friends, but I also love constantly meeting new people and making new friends. As a law student, my life is crazy busy right now, but I’m an extremely outgoing person and try to get out in the social scene as much as possible.

If you could take a two month vacation, where would you go?
I love to travel, especially to Europe. I studied abroad in Barcelona in the Spring of 2009 and in the Netherlands last summer. If I had two months to devote to a vacation, I would definitely love to spend it in Australia. My brother, who is a junior at Indiana University, is spending February-June of this year studying abroad in Sydney, and I wish I had the time (and money) to devote to visiting him. I’ve never been to Australia so I’m extremely jealous, and I’ve heard it’s an amazing place.

What is your favorite memory from Jewish summer camp?
I worked at the JCC of Greater Washington summer camp for more than six summers throughout high school and college. The JCC has a unique inclusion program, which allows children of all ages, with and without disabilities to attend camp together. Most of the summers I worked in the swim department, and most of my favorite memories include watching kids overcome their fears of the water. In particular, I worked with a child who began his summer afraid of the shallow end of the pool and by August was diving in the deep end.

What made you want to become a teacher?
As a Jew, I realize the importance of giving back to my community, and my years of work at the JCC sparked my passion for education. I currently teach a DC Public Schools criminal justice elective class at Wilson High School. I earn law school credit, and really enjoy working with DCPS students. Teaching in DCPS is extremely challenging and often frustrating, but I embrace the challenge, and being in the classroom is honestly one of the best and most fulfilling parts of my week.