Women in Government

Sarah Besnoff 2016 HONOREE

U.S. District Court Clerk, Eastern District, Pennsylvania

Even at this early stage of her career, Sarah Besnoff has racked up many rewarding experiences in the public sector. She interned for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, worked as a paralegal for the New York County district attorney’s office and served as the executive director for a national contest for college students to pitch ideas for improving public policy. 

But nothing has topped the day she graduated from Barnard College in 2009. Not only did she give a commencement speech, she also got a shoutout from Hillary Clinton. Besnoff had said in her speech that her mother often told her, “When I grow up, I want to be Sarah Besnoff.” When Clinton came to the podium a few minutes later, she said she felt the same way about her own daughter. “I felt a remarkable kinship with Sarah’s mother,” Clinton said. Besnoff -- and her mother -- were thrilled.

Besnoff earned a law degree and a master’s of public administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She now works as an attorney for the federal court system. Besnoff credits much of her success to the support of people she has worked with. “When I have been willing to ask for help or ask for guidance, I have been astounded by how willing people are to give it.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.