An Interview with Dr. Jessica Samuel, IRT ’15 on Educational Equity

Dr. Samuel is an education equity expert. Her experience includes advising for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, consulting for the Commonwealth Corporation, and coaching for the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers. In addition to working with education organizations, she also provides 1:1 coaching and small group workshops for various education stakeholders.

Dr. Samuel recently spoke with Brittany Zorn, IRT ’13 on her work and experiences. The written transcription of their conversation, link to an audio copy and an introduction by Brittany is included below.

Introduction by Brittany Zorn, IRT ‘13

As an IRT alumna, I started my role as Arts & Sciences Programs Specialist for the IRT with a ton of enthusiasm and boundless energy. Early on in my career, I was tasked with incorporating more opportunities for current students to connect directly with alumni. One of the ways I sought to bring more alumni perspectives to our advising curriculum was through the curation of multiple alumni panels and alumni-lead talks during the Summer Workshop (this was, of course, pre-pandemic when in-person programming was still the universal standard.) As luck would have it, I was casually scrolling Facebook one day and came across a post by IRT alumna Jessica S. Samuel, IRT ’15 regarding some of the work she was doing at Boston University around self-care for BIPOC students at PWIs as a revolutionary and libratory act. I instantly identified Jessica’s work as addressing a gap in IRT’s advising curriculum that I was working to close; we wanted to facilitate more intentional conversations around wellness for our scholars, and Jessica clearly demonstrated some specialization in this area through her post. I reached out and invited her to lead IRT’s first ever Wellness Day keynote address in the 2017 IRT Summer Workshop, and this collaboration served as the starting point of our working relationship ever since. 

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