Political Science Graduate Scores Job with PA Department of Education Amidst Pandemic

Samantha Starliper graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a political science degree.

Samantha Starliper graduated from LVC with her political science degree in 2019, ready to enter the workforce. With the experience she gained in and out of the classroom, the young grad was career-ready. Although she admits that the job search was daunting at times, Starliper never expected what was to come on her first day after being hired. 

Starliper accepted a job with the PA Department of Education as a press assistant and began her first day on March 16, 2020. You know, the day much of the country shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Starliper handled the roadblock put up on her first day in stride.

“I’ve worked from home since day one, but it has provided me with a new appreciation for my ability to be flexible in the face of adversity,” said Starliper.

Starliper enjoys collaborating with fellow employees who share her passion for learning. Through her work handling correspondence and press releases, Starliper is involved in many different education-related media and communication aspects, among many others. 

“I’ve always been passionate about education, and everyone I work with genuinely wants to help make education equitable and accessible for every person in the Commonwealth. I’m able to monitor common topics with correspondence, help individuals resolve problems, and answer questions. I’m also able to see which topics become popular and make an impact on the bigger picture of education in PA.”

In her job, Starliper takes lessons and skills learned at The Valley and applies them to her work. While there is the key understanding of things like global studies and the U.S. legal system that she needed for her major in political science, Starliper has also drawn on the critical thinking and writing skills that she developed. Candidly speaking about the three professors she had most often at LVC, Dr. Chris Dolan, Dr. Diane Johnson, and Dr. Philip Benesch, Starliper said, “Without them, I don’t think I would have learned nearly as much or had as many opportunities as I did in college.” 

Starliper has also drawn on other LVC experiences to enhance her role at the Department of Education. These included a conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., a European Union simulation in Washington, D.C., and an internship in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Starliper helped plan and host events at the Pennsylvania Capitol with international consulates, assisted constituents, was introduced in the Senate, and worked with the Board of Pardons to help speed up the state’s pardon process. She also attended a Board of Pardons public hearing in the PA Capitol Supreme Court.

“Internships are a great opportunity to make connections and learn skills that can help with jobs post-grad, too. The chief of staff in Lieutenant Governor Stack’s office served as one of my top references when I applied for jobs, and all the work I did with constituent correspondence has helped me a ton in my current position,” said Starliper.

Starliper’s reflection on the impact of her undergraduate degree doesn’t just stop there, though, as she goes on to explain how grateful she is for her time at the LVC.

“LVC, my professors, and all the opportunities shaped who I am today, and I am so thankful to be able to call LVC my alma mater,” she said. “I was able to take part in clubs, class discussions, LVC traditions, studying abroad in Spain, attending conferences, research, and so many other things that made my LVC experience so memorable.”


-- Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant