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Allie: What brought you to DC?
Sam: When I graduated, I got a job in DC doing higher education research with EAB. I grew up in Westchester, New York – and found DC to be a lot more diverse and fun than I expected!
Allie: What does higher education research entail?
Sam: EAB does education and technology research and provides services to make academic institutions more financially sustainable. It might sound a little boring, but one of the cool things about it is that most finance people are not going to work at a university if they’re in it for the money. Finance officers at colleges are there because they value the importance of higher education. So, when we talk to them, we talk about finance as a means to provide more education to more students in a more sustainable way.
Allie: Awesome. Okay, new topic – what’s your favorite smell and why?
Sam: Vanilla. It brings back memories of baking in my kitchen with my family. I personally love baking – making pies, cakes, and cookies. My twin sister is also a pastry chef, and I’m often told that I’m not allowed to bake because it’s her thing. She is pretty legit, she went to culinary school and got a degree in baking and pastry arts.
Allie: What is it like being a twin?
Sam: I loved being a twin up until teenage angst happened. [When we were teens], both of us were not the biggest fans of each other. It often felt uncomfortable in high school because the other person was always there. My twin sister and I have become a lot closer over the last five or six years, and it’s great having someone my age to talk to about the issues we both deal with.
Allie: In other news, I heard you went GatherDC’s last Beyond the Tent retreat. What was that like?
Sam: A friend of mind from college (and previous Jewish Person of the Week Margaret), went on Beyond the Tent with GatherDC and had a great experience. Because of her, I met a bunch of people who also went on Beyond the Tent, and they convinced me to go. In college, I spent a lot of time doing dialogue intensive programs with race groups, and was missing the opportunity to develop strong relationships through dialogue experiences.
I really didn’t know what to expect from Beyond the Tent. Immediately, when I arrived, Rabbi Aaron started to facilitate an intensive ice breaker experience. I was hooked on trying to unpack my own experiences, and prior understanding of what my personal American Jewish identity was. This was something that fascinated me, and I was really eager to get into it. I’ve never taken the time to unpack what Jewish culture, tradition, and morality meant to me. It was really great to have the opportunity to do so in an environment where I was pushed to think about those ideas.
Allie: If you had an entirely free day to do whatever you wanted in DC, how would you spend it?
Sam: I would start by kayaking on the Potomac River and then have brunch at “Farmers, Fishers, Bakers” in Georgetown. Then, I would walk along the National Mall and play frisbee with some folks. After that, I would go back somewhere and play board games for a little while, and then see where the night takes us.
Allie: Do you have any favorite board games?
Sam: Right now, I’m in the middle of Season Two of Pandemic Legacy. I’m playing it with three good friends.
Allie: What 3 celebrities would you most want to have as a part of your entourage?
Sam: Anna Kendrick. Chris Pratt. Lin-Manuel Miranda. That would be a weird and fun group of people to hang out with. My sisters and I were very into the show “Everwood”, and there is an amazing scene of Chris Pratt doing karaoke in one episode, so I imagine he could join in with any random singing that may break out and be fine.
Sam: I grew up going to a lot of improv and comedy shows in New York City, and when I got to DC I decided it was something I wanted to learn. I started doing improv with the Washington Improv Theater, and want to spend more time working on that this year.
Allie: What’s at the top of your life bucket list?
Sam: I want to move to London.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Sam: We go deep
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