Samuel Lyman headshot

#PolicyProfile: Samuel Lyman MPP ’23

Jan 20 2023
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

“I grew up watching ‘The West Wing,’ where Rob Lowe plays a White House speechwriter named Sam Seaborn. His character is what first piqued my interest in the profession. From an early age, I loved writing, and I loved politics—so speechwriting seemed like a natural fit. Using words to move policy and shape public opinion sounded like a dream job. As a political science student at Brigham Young University, I worked as an intern on Capitol Hill for Senator Orrin Hatch and was then hired after the internship ended. Sen. Hatch gave me opportunities, first, to write his jokes and then, eventually, talking points, press statements, op-eds, and speeches. In time, I became his chief speechwriter.

Speechwriting bridges the gap between the average voter and why they should care. I've always had great admiration for figures throughout history who’ve changed the world with words alone. There’s a poetic aspect to what they do in the way they mix art and intellect."
Samuel Lyman

"I later worked as a speechwriter at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and then I moved to the think tank world to be policy director at the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. Speechwriters can help move policy but working at a think tank gave me the opportunity to write it. In addition to U.S. politics, I have an interest in international relations because of my own overseas living experience. I was born in Mexico and lived there for the first few years of my life, and then lived in Belgium for a few years. When I turned 19, I began a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in São Paulo, Brazil. It was during my LDS mission that I realized the profound meaning that comes from helping others and gleaning life lessons that ultimately put me on the path to SPIA. I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I’ve already had here at Princeton in just a short amount of time. Here, I hope to deepen my knowledge of domestic policy and international relations so I can be better prepared for a life of public service."

At SPIA, We Care

Our Community

We are committed to ensuring that all members of our diverse community feel respected, supported, and valued both inside and outside the classroom. We seek to strengthen the capacity of our students to promote equity and foster inclusion while here and in the broader world.