Christopher Samp

Christopher Samp started on one path in his quest to make a difference, but found a new major at RIT and an exciting new career in Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to become a city planner, and went to RIT to pursue my interest in engineering,” the Troy, Mich., native says. “But shortly after being involved with a number of leadership activities, I fell in love with the Public Policy program. It was the right fit for me, and I learned to become a confident leader and a community advocate.”

Samp recently was hired as a staff assistant to Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, putting him on the front line on the legislative process where issues are debated and voted on before becoming law.

“This is my opportunity to learn the ropes and develop my public policy skills to become one of the decision-makers in the future” he says.

Samp credits RIT’s Public Policy Department for preparing him for a career in government, and RIT for providing the opportunity to meet former President Bill Clinton and other leaders.

He considers another president, Abraham Lincoln, a role model as well.

“Lincoln abolished slavery and preserved the Union, and is a reminder that through persistence and hard work, we can overcome almost any challenge,” he explains.  

Samp includes former NTID Interim President Jim DeCaro among his personal mentors.

“I learned a great deal from working with Dr. DeCaro through PEN-International and having him as part of my thesis committee,” he says. “His leadership and integrity continue to serve as an example to me.”  

Samp received support from the NTID Center on Employment, RIT Co-op and Career Services and RIT alumni with the job search process, and has his own advice to offer students pursuing their dream career.

“Maintain a healthy and positive relationship with the people you work with; don’t procrastinate; and take one step at a time when the challenges are complex and difficult,” he says.

Samp also has advice for anyone moving to or visiting the nation’s capital: a stop at Georgetown Cupcake.

“They offer more than 60 flavors,” he says. “My goal is to try them all by the end of 2011!”   

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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