60 seconds with Sam Mercadante
Sam, Chevening's resident American, gives us the lowdown on working at the Secretariat, her favourite thing about living in the UK, and her superpower of choice...
Name: Sam Mercadante
Job title: Programme Officer
Chevening: Hey Sam, I can detect an American accent. Where are you from?
Sam: Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
What is your role at Chevening and what are your main responsibilities?
As a programme officer, I look after scholars from four universities in London and five universities in or near Manchester – 149 scholars in total. I’m also responsible for organising and attending numerous events, including our upcoming overnight trip to Northern Ireland.
Describe a typical working day.
I always start the day by answering emails, mainly questions from scholars. Then, depending on what I have coming up, I work on planning events, or sometimes writing blog posts for our scholar newsletter. Our office is open-plan so we’re always catching up with each other and discussing new ideas – no day is ever quite the same!
What is your favourite thing about working at Chevening?
I love travelling to new places around the UK, especially since I’m not from here! Our office is based in London, but in seven months of working at Chevening I’ve been to Glasgow, Chester, Preston, Manchester, Salford, Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, Cambridge, the Cotswolds, Durham, and Bath. I’ll be going to Belfast in the summer.
That's serious mileage. What do you think describes the 'Chevening spirit'?
A commitment to open-mindedness and new ideas. That’s true of our scholars but it’s true of everyone who works at Chevening as well.
What's your favourite thing about living in the UK?
There are so many things to choose from! I love long summer evenings in London, hiking in Scotland, the variety of accents, and the fact that every single place has so many layers of history. I love history, and being in the physical spot where something actually happened. The Tower of London is my favorite thing in London because it’s so old and so many epic things happened there.
If you had a superpower for a day what would you do?
I always had recurring dreams of flying when I was little, so it would have to be that! Flying would also be so much more useful if I could combine that with being invisible.