Welcome to Part 4 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Samantha Zuhlke, Washington, D.C.

Meet Samantha Zuhlke, a 25 year-old Project Manager at the National Geographic Society.  Sam gets to tell the world how great geography is on a daily basis and helps people learn about our world in fun ways.  Before joining the National Geographic team, she completed a bachelor's degree in geography at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, was a student video journalist, and interned at a conservation organization called the Lake George Association.
Learn about Sam's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Produces free educational resources for National Geographic Education.
  • Geography education advocate.
  • How'd she do it?  Persistence.  She turned an internship into a contracting position, and then spun that into a full-time position.

Geo Shout Out

"Geography is important to me because it's a tool for understanding—it provides a means to analyze and interpret, and to create a better world around us.  It gives me an edge because it allows me to see the whole picture.  It's a little bit of everything, very holistic, and I love keeping that larger picture in mind as I move through the day-to-day."

Say What?:

"Communicating clearly helped me land my current job.  Being able to talk about what I do and what I want to do has opened a lot of doors for me and has been invaluable.  I don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life... But I do know what I want to do right now and how to express it."

Advice Byte:

"There's almost nothing more important than exercising good judgement, both personally and professionally.  It's important to learn how to distinguish between opportunities to pursue and which ones to let go."

Geo Inspiration:

"People who pursue their passions inspire me.  It doesn't matter what that passion is for - geography, photography, animals, cooking, etc..  People who have identified what they're supposed to do, and are doing it - that's inspiring!"

Silly Snafu:

"I work at a lot of conferences to promote National Geographic Education's work. These events are very fun, but very draining and have led to some embarrassing moments. One time I forgot where we were, another time I fell asleep under a table—actions my coworkers still make fun of me for, but all in a days work!  It's these moments that keep me on my toes and keep the job fun."

Stay in Touch:

Linked In: www.linkedin.com/pub/samantha-zuhlke/30/3b1/669

Twitter: @geographyofsam

Website: NatGeoEd.org

Sam is also a regular contributor to the National Geographic Education Blog

Munch on More Stories in this Series:

Part 1
Reed Tomlinson
geo business starter
Part 2
Lauren Herwehe
globetrotter & geo student
Part 3
Mike Colosimo
geo business starter

Written by Rachel Kornak, GISP, Creative Director & Editor of GeoPivot Magazine.  This story series is brought to you by National Geographic Education in celebration of 2013 National Geography Awareness Week and the 125th birthday of the National Geographic Society. Check out their blog for more exciting geography stories.  Special thanks to Justine Kendall, the Geography Awareness Week Program Coordinator for making this story series possible.


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