Senior Savannah Kochinke Reflects On The “Spirit of Mentorship” At SFS

Savannah Kochinke



Savannah Kochinke
SFS, Class of 2016, International Economics
Santa Rosa, California
Language: Spanish
Proseminar:  Politics of the African Safari
On-Campus Activities:
Captain of the Women’s Rowing team
Hilltop Microfinance Initiative
Georgetown Gastronomes


May 18, 2016 by Ara Friedman

Leaving the Hilltop brings out mixed emotions for many Georgetown students. “I am sure that I speak for everyone in the senior class when I say that Graduation is a bittersweet experience,” says SFS senior Savannah Kochinke. The International Economics major is reluctant to say goodbye to all her friends, but has already thought about ways to keep connected to Georgetown. “I am excited to soon be joining the ranks of the amazing SFS alumni who have helped guide me over my past four years…..Even though we are soon leaving the SFS, it has prepared us for our future by creating a spirit of mentorship where we can continue to seek advice when we leave, and then give back to our underclassmen.”

Giving back has been a consistent theme over Kochinke’s life, which was focused after a 2008 visit to Hope Unlimited, a home for street children in Brazil. “The experience left me asking so many questions,” she explained. “How can poor favelas exist outside of rich cities like São Paulo? What leads to high levels of crimes in some of these neighborhoods and how could the abuses against these children maybe have been prevented? Since my visit, I’ve begun to look for ways to act on my passions for promoting social justice and economic and social equality.”

Kochinke paintHer journey led her to SFS, where she hoped to learn how to actualize her dreams. “I knew, through the SFS, that I would get an education that would allow me to blend my passions for financial empowerment and economic development and use this understanding to create positive change in the world.”

Kochinke fully embraced her four years at Georgetown, operating under a philosophy to dedicate herself all of her endeavors. “To make the most of my time as an undergraduate, as I tried to make the most of my limited time as a student athlete [Kochinke is a varsity rower and Captain of the Georgetown Women’s Rowing team], I would do everything to the best of my physical, emotional and mental capabilities. I’ve learned to always try to work to my best, and then always find a way to improve on that. And, at times when all feels lost, and all our resources drained, that we have a reservoir of power to draw from. Sometimes, this comes from yourself and the skills and knowledge that have built over the years. But, often, this also comes from your teammates, roommates, and your classmates.”

Kochinke rowing teamKochinke formed a support network during her time at Georgetown, centered by her teammates on the rowing team. “One of the defining characteristics of my undergraduate experience has been my time as a varsity rower on the women’s rowing team. The lessons that I learned on the rowing team translated into my everyday life and helped me to overcome the challenges, make the most of the successes, and form the relationships that would come to define my undergraduate career.”

Georgetown faculty has also been important advocates during Kochinke’s studies. “I will never forget the professors that I have had here,” she said. “So many professors are willing to take time out of their day to meet with students over a coffee to talk about future goals and aspirations, and what it will take to achieve them.”

Her time in the classroom had its highlights. In contrast to many SFS students who feel the pain of the economics requirements, Kochinke loved these classes and saw them as only the beginning of what she wanted to learn about economic theories and models. She recommended a set of courses to other international economics aficionados. “Though they technically count as two courses, I want to say that taking “Industrial Organization,” followed by “Topics in Trade and Competition,” with [Professor] Marius Schwartz has been one of my favorite courses that I have taken at Georgetown. I consider these two classes a single course, and would recommend anyone to take them back-to-back, as they build of one another so fluidly, that it really feels like you are taking a full year on learning the economics of the behavior of firms and antitrust policy.”

Each of the classes concluded with a role-play that brought the material to life for Kochinke and her fellow students.

“One of my favorite experiences was the mock trials that we did at the end of both semesters,” she described. “Using a real Department of Justice Antitrust case, we would debate in class as the plaintiffs and defendants. This experience was very cool because you used what we learned in class and applied it to real life situations, gained an in-depth knowledge on your subject, and had to use clear reasoning and logic to make your case before the jury, our class.”

While Kochinke will miss the “impromptu get-togethers for Trivia Night at Tombs, study sessions at Lau, or pick up games of basketball in Yates,” she feels ready for whatever comes next. “I truly believe that my time as a Georgetown undergraduate has prepared me for how to handle future challenges and successes.”