By Abigail Kelly, For The Miami Student
Miami alumnus Kevin Samy (’09) was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” for his professional success as a speechwriter for environmental and climate change policy. Samy, 28, was one of 600 honorees for “30 under 30,” and received the award in the Law & Policy category.
However, a successful career in public service was not Samy’s intention when he started at Miami in 2005. Instead, the past 10 years has been a long journey of creating and recreating his own game plan.
The Original Game
“There was so much that went into my decision to go to school at Miami that revolved around football,” Samy recalled.
The Canton, Ohio native was recruited as a defensive linebacker for the RedHawks with the dream of playing professionally after graduation. That dream was abruptly ended by an injury early in his second season.
Six months after the injury and two surgeries later, Samy finally had to come to terms with finding a new path.
“I was no longer ‘Kevin the football player,’” he said. But Samy decided to see his situation as an opportunity.
“It was really a moment for me to focus on not football, and I got to think critically about other life options,” said Samy.
He continued his Miami career by focusing on his accounting courses. However, throughout his junior year, he had the frightening realization that he was in a major he did not want to make into a career, and it was too late to change his degree.
Leap of Faith
His family roots drove him to a growing passion for the environment.
“[My parents] came from rural India, farming villages, and the connection between the environment and livelihood is so dispersal,” he said. “The idea that the rain comes is very much a part of quality of life.”
With a few hundred dollars a month from his parents, left the idea of accounting behind and started doing working internships at Washington, D.C. NGOs and the White House and crashing on friends’ couches before pursuing his Masters Degree from Yale University in Environmental Management.
Following his Masters, he returned to the White House to begin helping shape the climate change policy for President Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Following Dreams is Success
As a speechwriter, Samy manages the input of many people who want to help shape the discussion of policy. After meeting with policy experts, his job is to create the narrative.
“No good speech is just a list of facts,” a mentor once told Samy. “It is narrative first, policy second.”
Forbes wrote that Samy “has helped shaped the narrative on policy issues throughout the executive branch.”
“You work really hard on a speech … And then, two days later, a newspaper article comes out. So, in a way, I feel like I shaped the public discourse,” said Samy. “So the news reporter and the people reading that paper, it is that ideation and that background process that I was managing.”
Even though accounting may have taken him on a more lucrative career path, Samy said he is very proud of the work he has done to be named a part of the “30 under 30” Samy said he hopes other Miami students will follow their passions, too.
“Get up doing what you love? Man, I have been so lucky that I have been able to do that.”