30 April 2020 • Alums Samuel '19 Pursuing Doctorate while Serving as Associate Dean

After completing his master's in educational leadership and policy studies at Boston University this spring, Shaamar Samuel '19 will begin doctoral work in educational studies at Lesley University as well as serve as Associate Dean of Students at Excel Academy High School in Boston.

The Lesley University Ph.D. program focuses on human development and learning, and Samuel plans to research the ways in which different individuals have access to education and use the study to create solutions toward an overall more equitable system of education.

While in the HWS Teacher Education Program and working with students in the Geneva City School District, Samuel began to think about pursuing a career in education. He says it was his advisor, Assistant Professor of History Janette Gayle, who first pushed him to think about graduate school.

On campus, Samuel was co-president of the Caribbean Student Association with his sister Shaahida Samuel '19. He was also a member of Chi Phi fraternity, a student worker in the Office of Admissions, the Office of Intercultural Affairs and at Reunion. At Boston University, he served as a graduate assistant in student activities.

"I knew that I wanted to get into the field to begin to reshape the face of those individuals tasked with leading our institutions of education," says Samuel. "Growing up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, I witnessed many of the great inequities that exist in our education system. It is these experiences in the NYC Public School System coupled with my work in graduate school thus far, which inspired me to work towards creating an education system that is more robust, equitable and inclusive."

At HWS, Samuel held a summer internship with Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 2018, held a theatrical scholarship funded by the Sills Family Endowed Fellowship and co-wrote and produced a production in 2017. As a first-year student, he was a cast member in the HWS Theatre Departments production of Good Kids.

In light of COVID-19, Samuel offers advice to the Classes of 2020. "Although these times are uncertain, remain confident in the skills, knowledge and bonds you have acquired during your time at HWS. Use your network when looking for opportunities by reaching out to your professors, classmates, administration, staff, community members and especially alums of the Colleges. A small conversation can go an extremely long way. Most importantly, remember that these circumstances are in no way permanent; always celebrate yourselves and your achievements!"