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Spotlight! Sydney Samoska (Leadership Institute Edition)

Name: Sydney Samoska

Preferred Pronouns: they/them

Job title: High School Program Manager

Organization: Youth & Opportunity United

Time in current role: 4 months

College/School: Loyola University Chicago for undergrad; Currently at UIC for my MEd!

Area of study/expertise: I studied biology, secondary education, and neuroscience at Loyola. At UIC I'm studying instructional leadership and education research methodology.

What do you like most about working in the nonprofit sector?

Work is where we spend most of our lives (outside of sleeping!) so it's been so important to me to work for organizations whose values and mission I can personally align with and really believe in. I really think that nonprofits do this the best.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love playing video games, board games, and snuggling my cats! Right now, my favorite is Deep Rock Galactic and I'm learning how to play Pathfinder.

What was the last experience you had that made you a stronger person?

My niece is almost one, and becoming an auntie has been one of the most transformative experiences in my life so far. She makes me want to be a better person, and I'm so grateful to have her in my life!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to develop games in Unity or a similar engine. Games are such a powerful medium for storytelling and connecting with people. Time and brain power constraints aside, I think this would be such a fun skillset to have!

What is your best or most meaningful memory of working in the nonprofit sector so far?

The most meaningful memories to me are small moments I have with students. I have a note hanging up at my desk from a student that says "I'm happy coming here." and it means so much to me. I feel like the impact of our work often gets overlooked when we forget to look at the little things.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Two cats sitting on a bathroom counter.
Syndey's cats.

I love animals, and they generally like me, but horses HATE me for some reason.

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