Meet Samantha Kittinger


Samantha Kittinger, Education & International Visitors Coordinator

A Buffalo State graduate and coffee enthusiast, Ms. Kittinger is the Education & International Visitors Coordinator supporting her department in increasing global awareness and engagement of all Western New York residents.

What are your academic credentials?  What experiences have you brought to the Institute?

[SK]: I graduated from Buffalo State with a Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Gender Studies.  Not only did I have the wonderful experience of interning here the Institute, but also as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Northeast Historical Archaeology and a contributing columnist for the American Anthropological Association.

Samantha presenting her research, “Buffalo’s Revival: Transformations Through Music and Space” at the American Anthropological Association Conference.

What would you say is the most rewarding thing about working at an organization like the Institute?

[SK]: I would say it is rewarding to work with a team of like-minded individuals; we share the same goals in making our city tolerant, inclusive and our services accessible. Working in the Education & International Visitors Department is rewarding because I get to engage with global diplomacy and our community, and have the opportunity to meet future leaders from all over the world.

What is the first word that comes to mind when I say “International Institute of Buffalo”?

[SK]: Kindness.

What is one accomplishment that you are most proud of (at work or outside of work)? Why?

[SK]: As an AmeriCorps member, implementing the Born Learning Trail with United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and West Side Community Services.  The first project of its kind in Western NY, it offers a free, early literacy tool in multiple languages.  The trail promotes an organic way of learning and can be found written in English, Spanish and Burmese.

Samantha at one of the posted signs of the Borne Learning Trail.

Since the Institute works with diverse people from all over the world, can you share with us your own heritage?

[SK]: I have Spanish, Italian and German roots.

Given the international nature of the Institute, have you traveled abroad? Any places on your bucket list?

[SK]: I’ve been to Italy and I was able to study abroad in Istanbul, Turkey.  Bucket list wise, I have every intention of going to Iceland and Spain. 

If you could sit down with any influential person, who would you choose?

[SK]: My favorite author and social commentator, Roxane GayShe is funny, smart and thoughtful.

Favorite ethnic food?

[SK]: Indian food.

Favorite book?

[SK]: It would have to be a book by Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk called The Museum of Innocence.  The coolest thing about the book is there is an actual museum in Istanbul that is full of items that are mentioned in the book.  I read the book while studying in Turkey and was able to visit the Museum  … it was such a neat way to connect with the fictional characters you fell in love with in Pakuk’s novel.  

What can you tell me about your life away from the Institute?

[SK]: I love reading, camping, kayaking, concerts, and hanging out with my cat, Max.

Samantha and fiance, Sonny, enjoying a day in Ithaca!

What are three traits would you say define you?

[SK]: Ambitious, sincere and curious.