Samantha Poeppelman was going to study biology in college, but that was before she fell in love with international relations. Now she is Fermilab’s new International Services Administrator and will help foreign nationals at Fermilab navigate everything from temporary work contracts to basic life services.
Poeppelman, who is from a small town in Ohio, made the decision to study international relations during her freshman year at the University of Kentucky.
“I lived behind the international students’ dorm. If I hadn’t lived there and made so many friends who were international students, I would have become a doctor,” Poeppelman said.
In addition to studying international relations, Poeppelman has traveled all over the world, including a four-month study abroad in Spain and Morocco,
Before accepting this position at Fermilab, Poeppelman spent her summer completing a 10-week long internship with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, where she attended multiple seminars with political figures and worked with AMIDEAST to facilitate study abroad programs between the U.S. and the Middle East.
Amanda Thompson, the head of the Visa Office and Poeppelman’s supervisor, hired Poeppelman because she has the unique skill set required for this position.
“Finding someone who is smart, capable, articulate and good with organizing information is easy to find. But finding someone with all those characteristics who also has an international perspective and is able to see cultural differences and evaluate without judging is a lot more rare. We found that in Samantha,” Thompson said.
Poeppelman is excited about her new post at Fermilab, which she started on Jan. 17. She will help foreign visitors navigate the wide variety of programs and internships Fermilab offers for international guests. Poeppelman hopes to help develop an orientation for foreign visitors that will address life and customs in the US.
“The International Services Office is the face of Fermilab for international visitors and so I get to work with a diverse group of people, which is what I love about my job,” Poeppelman said.