Amazing Students

Sam Reinhardt

A “news junkie,” Sam Reinhardt will graduate with a double major in newspapers and finance, with certificates in business and German politics. The Tift County native has studied abroad and participated in the Washington Semester and model United Nations program while at UGA.

Hometown:

Tifton

High School:

Tift County High School

Degree objective:

B.B.A. in Finance; A.B.J. in Journalism, with a concentration in newspapers

Other degrees:

Certificate in Business and Political German

Expected graduation:

Spring 2012

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

When I was looking at colleges my senior year of high school, I knew that I wanted business training with an international flair.  Thus, UGA seemed like the perfect fit.  The HOPE Scholarship provided free tuition and UGA had a growing reputation and a dynamic educational environment.

I recall my years in college by what excursions I have taken.  At the conclusion of my first year, I spent six weeks studying the Russian economy and culture in St. Petersburg.  I was not away from Athens for an extended period my second year, but living in the fraternity house was a unique experience in its own right!  Half of my third year, I lived in Nuremberg, Germany, and I worked and studied in Washington D.C. during the spring semester of my fourth year.

It is astonishing to reflect that just over two decades since the Soviet Union was declared the “evil empire,” I was living in the former country’s second-largest city.  My mother even recollects bomb drills her class conducted during grade school amid supposed threats of a Soviet attack.  Yet, there I was, enamored with the Russian people and the rich history of their country.  I will never forget talking with a Renault car salesman about the challenges of foreign companies operating in Russia, discussing American foreign policy with a stranger on the train to Moscow or running into the streets to watch the celebrations after the national soccer team made it to the semifinals of the Euro Cup.

During my stay in St. Petersburg I was accompanied by a group of other American students from around Georgia.  However, Nuremberg was a completely independent excursion.  I got off the plane, and suddenly it was up to me to obtain my housing assignment, set up the utilities and open a local bank account - all in German!  I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to function with the language challenges, thanks to my training from the German language department at UGA.

But the greatest takeaway from Nuremberg was the relationships I made with people for all corners of the globe.  No matter if we were in a museum or a beer garden, each gathering was like a miniature United Nations.  Every topic of discussion from television to politics resulted in fascinating cultural comparisons from the multitude of perspectives given.  Thanks to Skype and Facebook, I am able to maintain these friendships.

UGA’s Washington Semester Program allowed to me take courses while working for Voice of America, an international news agency.  While most interns tell stories of fetching coffee or making copies, I covered protests at embassies and the State Department and interviewed a variety of experts and academics studying various issues.  Three of my news packages were even selected to air on our daily newscast.

Although these experiences have had a profound impact on me, I was always glad to come back to Athens after their conclusion.  It would be difficult to find another university that offers students such distinctive opportunities as well as a great campus to return to.

In addition, I am part of the Honors Program and Sigma Chi fraternity and have participated in UGA’s Model United Nations team as well as the environmental organization Greeks Going Green.  Locally, I have also been involved with the Athens Tutorial Program and Habitat for Humanity.

Family Ties to UGA:

My grandfather, Bob Reinhardt, was the first member of the family to come to UGA.  My father and his two brothers followed suit, and both my brother and sister graduated from UGA.  My maternal aunt, Sally Williamson, graduated from the Grady College.  So you could say I have a strong history at UGA on both sides of my family.

I chose to attend UGA because…

UGA has a growing reputation nationally, and the opportunities offered by the HOPE scholarship are difficult to turn down for in-state students.  I also knew that I wanted to go to a large university with several disciplines of study available.  There are few other institutions where I would have been able to combine studies in finance, journalism and German with such enriching experiences both on and off campus.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I am fortunate that the colleges I am seeking degrees from, Terry, Grady and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences German department, are all located around North Campus.  Thus, when I have an hour break or so between classes, I usually grab a newspaper and read by one of the fountains.  If the weather is not so great, it is easy to slip downtown into one of the coffee shops and still have plenty of time to get back to class.

When I have free time, I like…

I am a big news junkie.  In fact, I have never really understood why people prefer sitcoms to newscasts.  I have often heard that newscasts are boring.  But in the news, you have suspense, comedy, horror, romance, scandal, hope, etc., all rolled into one - and it is all real!  Thus, a large amount of my free time is spent buried in a newspaper or my favorite publication, The Economist.

The craziest thing I've done is…

freshman year I picked up a copy of the Red & Black and saw there was a study abroad fair happening that day at the Tate Student Center.  I had an hour free, so I decided to go in and have a look around.  The next thing I knew, I was signed up to spend over a month in St. Petersburg, Russia.

I did not know anyone else participating in the program, nor did I know much about modern Russia.  To be honest, considering the scandal surrounding the Russian Revolution and the failure of the country’s communist regime, my expectations were rather bleak.  However, I ended up living in one of the most intriguing places in the world, meeting people that I will never forget, and broadening my understanding both of Russia’s history and its prospects for the future.  None of this would have happened had I not wandered into the Tate Center that day.

My favorite place to study is…

the main library has a hidden gem.  On the fifth floor there are four tables along the windows (right off of the elevators, left from the stairs).  They have an amazing view overlooking the Miller Learning Center, the stadium and all the way up to Myers Hall.  Other floors have similar tables, but the view offered by the fifth floor is superior.  The only problem is I sometimes catch myself staring out of the window instead of actually studying!

My favorite professor is…

I hate to pass on this question, but it is truly impossible to answer.  I have encountered several individuals at UGA who have played an integral role in me reaching this point.  I have had academic advisers who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me accommodate multiple disciplines of study and extracurricular programs away from Athens.  My professors have had interesting backgrounds, were passionate about their areas of expertise, and always seemed eager to assist students.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I find as I get older that this is an increasingly difficult question to answer.  In the past, my mind instantly would have shifted to the likes of Washington, Roosevelt or Churchill.  However, I find it impossible to isolate just one person that I would choose.

Perhaps it is the people that I interviewed while working for Voice of America, the stories I have heard from my grandparents of past generations of my family or the histories of my friends’ families that I have met overseas.  But somehow I have learned that just because a person is not remembered in a book or a film does not make their life insignificant.  Some of the most fascinating accounts I have ever heard are of people whose names have largely been lost to history.

Not everyone can share in the spotlight, but we all have a story worth telling.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

bring back a Pan Am-style airline. I have never understood why I have an innate fascination with the airline industry, but there is something romantic about sitting at an airport and imagining where those huge jets are going, who is on them and what purpose they have for traveling. I would like to see a return of the age when flying was a luxurious experience and there was a high level of esteem for the industry.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

travel.  I have found from several opportunities to see different areas of this country and the world that there are infinite wonders to see, experiences to share and people to meet.

After graduation, I plan to…

pursue opportunities in business journalism.  Having had the opportunity to visit several foreign countries, I have seen firsthand what a vibrant economy we have in the U.S.  Even though we are in quite a rough patch at present, there remains some innate sense of optimism among Americans that somehow tomorrow will bring something better.  We have glamorous and innovative companies such as Google and Wal-Mart, but we also have a population that has never accepted limitation. Therefore, I can think of no better way to spend my life than analyzing trends in the economy and providing information to better inform the public.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

freshman year - there is really nothing else quite like it.  I had to acclimate to living with another person in a single room, pledging a fraternity, keeping up with my studies, plus juggle an innumerable amount of other new experiences. Yet this span of drastic changes gives great lessons in self-reliance, prioritization and a number of other skills that I could never have received elsewhere.

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