Samir T. Patel – Best Graduate School Speech Winner

Samir is currently an MBA student at Emory University in Atlanta. He’s an Army veteran with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a cavalry officer; he still serves in the Army Reserves.  He has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and real estate.  He graduated from West Point with a degree in Economics and Arabic language.
Click here or below to watch Samir’s winning speech!

Our Interview With Samir

Was this the first time you entered the contest?

How did you hear about the contest?
By searching the web for scholarships.

What inspired your work?
As a military officer, I swore an oath to the Constitution and have pledged my life to it. Why wouldn’t I want to write about it and what it means to me?

What did you learn while creating your entry?
How incredibly genius the document really is. It’s not overly prescriptive which, in my opinion, has led it to be an enduring document through the past two centuries.

How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
I plan on making more speeches and writing essays as well posting on my own social media on how the US Constitution is important.
Winning this scholarship has boosted my confidence in my writing and ability to communicate. I never really did much writing before; putting together my speech was unexpectedly very empowering.

How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
Most roll their eyes but I still talk about it anyway. After a few minutes however, I think a few people actually start to understand how important the document is and why we should use it as guiding principles of how we govern ourselves.

What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
I love that brave men had the courage to stand up to tyranny when the odds were not in their favor. I’ve learned that when something is important enough, like freedom, you pursue it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I want to visit Benjamin’s Franklin’s printing shop. For me, the birthplace of America started here. Franklin, in my view is the First American (as one of his biographer’s titled him).

Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
Benjamin Franklin

Who is your greatest role model?
Benjamin Franklin

What in your life are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about economic empowerment. I teach part-time at a local university and nothing gives me more joy than to teach students how to be independent and how our economic system is really the best medium for pursuing freedom.

How do you spend your free time?
Reading science fiction and playing sports. I’m in the middle of preparing to climb a few very tall mountains.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to achieve a degree of business success before pursuing elected office.

If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
​It would be that all Americans have a personal responsibility to our Country. I think that gets lost on people now that we have achieved incredible heights in human comfort and prosperity. I get the impression that a lot of Americans think this is a given not something that has to be protected everyday. ​

Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution is our guiding document for governance. It has a direct impact, especially today, on how we resolve arguments and ​how we as a Country can move forward. Sure, the bureaucracy of government exists but without the Constitution, I think it could be so much worse. The concept of checks and balances and a government not promoting religion are two hallmarks of our society which has and will continue to serve us well.

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