For Anita Samuel ’98, UIndy was the perfect place to launch her political career and help land her current position: general counsel and policy director to the governor of Indiana. Samuel was appointed as general counsel in December—10 years after her graduation from law school in 2001—having served as assistant general counsel to Gov. Mitch Daniels since 2005. Now her days are filled with drafting execu-tive orders, serving as liaison to the judicial branch, reviewing legislation and administrative rules, and advising on litigation when the state is involved. She’s been engaged in the governor’s appointment of an Indiana Supreme Court justice, two judges on the Court of Appeals, and numerous judges at the county level.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting applicants from all over the state, learning about their ideas and what they can bring to the judicial system, and understanding how they reached that point in their career,” she says. Prior to joining the governor’s office, Samuel was general counsel for Secretary of State Todd Rokita and was a deputy attorney general for Attorney General Steve Carter. She also continues to serve as policy director for five state agencies.
Balancing a full workload became second nature after her time as an intern with the Indiana State Senate as a student at the University. “One of my profs invited a representative from the Indiana House and Senate to come to our class and talk about internships,” she explains. “As a result, I received an internship with the Senate and realized how much I enjoyed state government. This led to several other opportunities in government and politics, which led to where I am today.”
Samuel’s undergraduate degree in political science provided a strong foundation for her law degree program at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. She also found her engaging undergraduate political science classes invaluable when it came to law school. “In law school they tend to use the Socratic method, where they just call on you to discuss a case. Having had smaller undergraduate classes that were more conversational, I found I was more confident and comfortable when it came to those situations in law school.”
She gained additional training for her career through the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series and the Indiana Leadership Forum. “I’ve had so many mentors along the way who helped me get to this point,” she said. She gave special credit to her political science professor, Dr. Stephen Graham, for educating, challenging, and motivating her at UIndy.
Outside of work, Samuel juggles her career and family (she and her husband, Tony, are the parents of a five-year-old and a two-year-old). “Some days are harder than others to achieve a healthy balance, but I just try my best each day. We try to spend as much time together as a family as possible and plan lots of family fun activities to remind Noah and Lilly how special they are to us.”
Samuel still finds time to serve on the UIndy Alumni Association Board of Directors, where she chairs the alumni-to-student subcommittee working to reestablish a mentoring program.“I couldn’t have reached this point in my career without the influence and advice of so many wonderful mentors,” she says. “I’m excited to serve on this board and be able to give back to UIndy. I know that my UIndy education—with an emphasis on service—provided me with a strong foundation for where I am today.”