Victoria Samuels, 3L, in Washington D.C.
Victoria Samuels is freezing. The 24-year-old Brooklyn-born third-year is spending the semester in Washington, D.C. completing an externship at The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council. She was there, hunkered down, for the Blizzard of 2016, when two feet of snow blanketed the Capitol. Even when we spoke via Skype, her short sleeve red tee shirt belied the 31-degree temperatures outside her door and threat of snow showers later in the day.
Never mind that the weather outside is frightful; Samuels is relishing the opportunity. The work that she has been doing at the MMTC – a national nonprofit focusing on closing the gap on access to telecommunications and broadband and spanning the digital divide for underserved and marginalized populations – is rich and rewarding.
"I helped draft the reply comments to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making aiming to simplify the Commission's foreign ownership approval process for broadcast licenses,” she says.
Her family came to the U.S. from Jamaica, and like many immigrant families were in search of a better opportunity for their children. "They wanted to give to their children, and give back to their country," she says. Her dad was a building superintendent and worked as a contractor. He passed away when she was 13. "I don't even know if he had a high school education."
Watching her parents' struggle pushed Samuels to work hard. And, growing up, she spent her summers with family in rural Jamaica. "It made me realize how very fortunate I am; I have hot water, I don't have to catch rainwater in a cistern," she says. "It made me want to do well in school." And, so she did. She was on the Dean's List for five semesters at Howard University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2013.
Samuels is very driven; she decided to give up meat -- not really for ethical reasons but more as a challenge to herself. "Culturally, Jamaicans eat a lot of meat," she says. "I just wanted to prove to myself I could do it." Four years later, she is still meatless.
She is equally ambitious at Miami Law where she engages in an abundance of clerkships, internships, clinic outreach, mentoring, and student organizations. Samuels was on the winning team in New York at the International Criminal Moot Court Competition and went on to represent Miami Law at the Hague competition.
"I always thought that public speaking would not be that different from broadcast journalism," she says. "It was harder than I imagined – even speaking in class – so I am that much more proud of the win."
Samuels wants to pursue a career in public interest but doesn't see herself leaving the country. Her dream job would be in the legal department of the NAACP or the Department of Justice. Also, she wouldn't hate being a First Lady, but she would rather be President. She certainly has the passion, drive, and moxie to make it happen, and for now, the White House is just down the street.