Samantha Kott Kouril: Undaunted by challenge

Knowing little about IT didn't keep this Rising Star from accepting an internship at GSA, where she's now a project manager.

Samantha Kott Kouril

Although Samantha Kott Kouril had long been drawn to public service, she didn't know much about technology systems before interning at the General Services Administration. But for her, that made the prospect of working in government IT even more enticing.

"When you're solving something, there's going to be something that you don't know how to do already, and that's a challenge and that's just something that I enjoy in general," Kott Kouril said.

Now, as a project manager at GSA's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center and an FCW Rising Star, it's safe to say Kott Kouril is good at what she enjoys doing.

The 2013 Rising Stars

Read about all of the winners

"I've always been attracted to civil service.… Project management, financial analysis and contract writing or technical writing [were] particularly attractive to me, and it had this kind of underlying overall purpose and goals that I was supporting," she said.

As an intern in 2012, Kott Kouril took over contractual management of the Farm Service Agency's Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems initiative. Chris Hamm, deputy director of FEDSIM, said MIDAS is the largest and most complex integration of SAP's enterprise resource planning software suite ever attempted in the federal government.

Kott Kouril said that even though she essentially fell into IT, she sees herself continuing in the field — ideally with an organization that promotes sustainability or perhaps the Peace Corps.

"You can take most IT skills and move to any kind of project, program, organization, company," Kott Kouril said, "and use or modify those skills that you're learning in an IT environment."

NEXT STORY: USPS names Cochrane as CIO

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