Dr. Javiette SamuelIn August, Dr. Javiette Samuel joined the School of Human Environmental Sciences as the Interim Associate Director. In this role, Dr. Samuel provides leadership for the day-to-day responsibilities in HES. As she begins her second semester, we provide reflections on her experiences along with information about her background prior to this position.

Please share a little about your background.

I have worked with children, youth, families, communities, and college students for over 20 years focusing on outreach, Extension, and evidence-based programming while promoting positive outcomes among children, youth, and families. During my career in higher education, I have taught a variety of undergraduate courses; mentored students, faculty, and staff; and secured external grants for educational programs, scholarships, and other initiatives. Prior to coming to the University of Kentucky, I was an Administrator at Kentucky State University. I served as 4-H Program Leader and Associate Professor at Tennessee State University for nearly 9 years. I value my membership in three honor societies: Kappa Omicron Nu, Phi Eta Sigma and Gamma Sigma Delta. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and a Southern Region Education Board Doctoral Scholar. I earned my bachelors, masters, and doctorate from the University of Tennessee. I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, reading and writing poetry. I strive to live every day to the fullest.

Now that your first semester in the School of HES has ended, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned since joining the School?

I am surprised at the number of moving parts that go on behind the scenes. It requires teamwork, collaboration, and effort from everyone to grow and succeed.

What do you see as the greatest asset of the School?

The School’s greatest strength is the interdisciplinary nature of the three academic departments, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, and the Research Center for Families and Children. All areas require broad commitment and sustained cooperation.

What goals do you have for the spring semester?

  • Continue to think about ways we can grow collectively.
  • Develop action steps to work towards actualizing growth.
  • Increase collaboration with Extension and on external grants.
  • Update HES Strategic Plan.

Is there one particularly memorable experience from this first semester that stands out?

One of my most memorable experiences from the first semester is the HES Welcome Breakfast for new students and families. It was my first opportunity as the Interim Associate Director to interact with HES students and their families, offer advice on succeeding at the University, and provide my contact information to students and family members for future correspondence.

If you could share one piece of advice for students in the School, what would it be?

Be passionate. Be curious. Become a life-long learner. Doing so enhances personal and professional goals; citizenship; leadership; and helps prepare people from diverse backgrounds for the 21st century workforce.