Spark Mentor Spotlight with Neema Samawi

Neema Samawi works as an analyst in Fraud Defenses at Capital One. She attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in Mathematics/Statistics and minored in Design. She’s lived in DC for the last four years and loves to draw, paint, and read – lately, she’s been getting into rollerblading!

Why did you become a mentor? 

I’ve been so positively impacted by mentoring relationships in my life, both by having mentors and by getting to be a mentor for others. And I wanted to get more involved in the community, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to make any sort of positive change in the world. Being there for one person consistently – that feels both achievable and impactful in a really meaningful way.

How long have you been mentoring with Spark the Journey? 

Almost two and a half years now!

What activities do you do with your mentee?

We have met up a couple times to make tie blankets to donate to hospitals or animal shelters. It’s a great activity to do where you can also hang out and chat while you do it!

What has been a highlight of your mentoring experience so far? 

Recently my mentee, Tanyiah, invited me to her high school graduation, and it’s both awesome to know that she’ll soon be celebrating all of her hard work over the last four years, and touching that she really wants me to be there.

What is one of your mentee’s dreams? 

Tanyiah is still figuring out what she wants to do as a career, but lately she’s mentioned aspirations of starting a childcare business one day.

How are you helping them achieve it? 

I try to be a sounding board for ideas that Tanyiah has for her future, and I encourage her to get as much experience trying things as she can. It can be hard to know if you like something until you try it!

How has Spark helped you in your mentoring relationship? 

My program coordinator, Ranya, has been really awesome in connecting me and my mentee with resources that have helped her immensely on her academic and personal journey. The monthly activities are great educational tools as well.

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

Definitely do it! It may seem daunting at times, because you can’t solve every single problem for your mentee, but sometimes they just need someone there to listen and support them. That alone can make a very real difference.