Class of 2016 graduate Sami Snellings is seeing the Lord move in big ways while working in DC for Fox News.
Class of 2016 Graduate Sami Snellings Having a Kingdom Impact at Fox News in DC
Written by Blake Froistad
The Book of Esther is a beautiful account of God's providence over both His own people, and the world as a whole. Even in exile under evil leadership, God always provides for, protects, and even elevates His people. Similar to what we see in the book of Daniel, Job and really any book in the Bible, God effortlessly works through fallen people to accomplish His purposes. I can't think of a more reassuring truth as we face more difficult times in our own lives and as a nation. We can be certain of God's providence as much as we are certain that more and more turbulent times will come as birth pains signal the end of all things. In the middle of the turbulence, many seek to escape to a more peaceful lifestyle, yet as we see throughout Scripture, God doesn't always deliver us out of the danger, but many times He delivers us through it. Valor alum Sami Snellings has grown accustomed to this truth as she pursues a career in journalism at Fox News in Washington, D.C.
The 2nd of 4 siblings, Kylie, Peyton (2019) and Jay (2020), Sami was deeply involved in Discovery and missions during her time at Valor. "After traveling to Uganda and India, I really wanted to go into mission work, but I also felt led to pursue a college degree and be the first in my family to achieve that." Sami saw through her dad John's life that you can be a "missionary" in whatever field you go into - even if that is not your official job title. Her father used entrepreneurship as his avenue to share the Gospel and bring a glimpse of the Kingdom of God to earth. Sami realized that whether your official title is accountant, hairstylist, barista, lawyer or journalist, your true job description is sharing the Gospel and making disciples wherever your feet take you.
After applying to numerous schools throughout the country, Sami was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and had plans to pursue a business degree. But God in His providence had other plans. After taking an accounting course and really struggling (getting a 35 percent on the first midterm!), she met with her academic counselor and was encouraged to pursue a different path. "I was and felt like I was letting down my family who had sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to attend college. I felt like maybe I had made a mistake going to college instead of pursuing work as a missionary. It was only because of that early failure in college that I started to think about other ways the Lord could use me. I signed up for a journalism class, and I fell in love with it. It tapped into a passion I never knew I had. I applied to an internship in DC and with just one journalism class on my resume, and they placed me under the White House Reporter at Newsmax." At just 19, Sami spent the summer of 2017 attending White House Briefings daily. "Only God can take the least qualified and put them in places of power. Like 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 says, '"...Think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." All i had going for me was my faith."
God so clearly had His guiding hand on Sami's every turn in DC. Her boss, John Gizzi, would have her write down questions to ask the White House press secretary about the president, and he was a man of God himself. "Mr. Gizzi and I lived near each other, and I would often meet him on the corner early in the morning to walk to work. Along the way, he would always stop in front of the White House, remove his hat and pray for the president. I saw through him -- much like I saw through my dad's example -- that you can be a missionary in whatever field you specialize in. He had spent his career in DC, but being around influential people in a city at the epicenter of power and influence did not change him. HE changed the culture of DC through his steadfast love and faith in God. Mr. Gizzi is marked by his humility, worth ethic, honesty and integrity."
After this internship, Sami had a new fire to pursue journalism when she returned to UNC. She completed more coursework and was well on her way to earning a journalism degree when she began applying to the next season of internships. She pursued an opportunity with Fox News, but was not selected. Wanting to grow from the setback, she wrote to the hiring manager thanking them and asking what she could work on over the next year. After taking the feedback to heart, she reapplied the next summer and landed the internship with Fox. "It was so humbling, you can get 1,000 no's and 1 yes. It really doesn't matter what all these no's think of me, if God has anointed me, He can put me anywhere."
In May of 2020, Sami graduated from UNC with a BA in journalism and political science and a minor in entrepreneurship, the first in her family to earn a college degree. She made the Dean's List as well. With college now in the rearview mirror, she began her career as a journalist at Fox News and was an assistant to the Senior VP and Washington Bureau Chief, Bryan Boughton. She was also an assistant to the VP of Bureau and Politics Cherie Grzech and the Senior VP and Managing Editor of the Washington Unit, Bill Sammon. During this time she pitched stories regarding the White House, Supreme Court, Pentagon, Capitol Hill and the State Department. In 2021, she was awarded the "Rising Star" Fox News Media Spotlight Award. After 3+ years with Fox News, she is now the assistant to Fox News Sunday Anchor & Chief Legal Correspondent, Shannon Bream -- who Sami says is one of her greatest role models. "There is no one who has been a better example of a Proverbs 31 woman than my mom and Shannon," Sami said.
"I absolutely love my job and feel like it’s my calling — being a 'missionary' in the journalism field," Sami added. "Journalists have so much influence deciding what stories are aired and what is seen as 'important.' I’ve been able to share the Gospel with many at the office. I always remind myself that if even ONE reporter comes to know Jesus, it will have a huge ripple effect. It will change what stories they see as important and what they choose to cover, the type of questions they ask and the fervor in which they uncover evil and bring it into the light. They will have new confidence and boldness as they approach our nation's leaders (and international leaders) because they will have the power and discernment of the Holy Spirit and no longer fear man, but only God."
Sami recently took a trip to Israel with Christians United for Israel (CUFI). While visiting numerous Biblical sites and going to the border of Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Syria, she was reminded of God's promises to Israel and what that means to nations that either stand against or stand for Israel. While in Israel, she saw for herself an incredible archaeological discovery -- 8 steps that had recently been unearthed leading into the Pool of Siloam, the place where Jesus healed the blind man in John 9. When Sami got back to Washington, D.C., she pitched the story to Fox & Friends and other shows, helping get the discovery on national television. "I'm just looking for ways to get the good news out to people" Sami said. Sami met numerous sources while on the ground in Israel, and has been hard at work getting them on air the last few days as war has broken out in Israel.
Reflecting on what it's like living in DC and being at what seems to be the epicenter of news, "God could have let me born in any time and any culture, but I’m here now and I feel called to steward my position and share the gospel. I was so soft spoken, but He has made me so much more confident and shown me the more I fear Him, the less I fear man." Sami has been able to pitch stories and be present at events with some of our nations most powerful leaders, but she doesn't let her quiet spirit hold back her confidence, "I walked right up to Secretary of State Pompeo and introduced myself and encouraged him in his faith too."
To all of the alumni reading this, I pray that your eyes would be opened to the work the Lord is doing in and around you. You are not here by accident, you were made for this time and a specific purpose. Use the gifts He has given you to make Him known whether He delivers you from or through the fire.