Samantha Salama: Accessible and inclusive education for all

Undergraduate student in SOE's disability studies certificate program wants to nurture her students by “listening, learning and growing right alongside them.”

VCU undergraduate student Samantha Salama is curently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Psychology. She is also pursuing an Undergraduate Certificate in Disability Studies in the VCU School of Education.

Picture of Samantha Salama holding her child. (Photo courtesy Samantha Salama)
Samantha Salama (Courtesy photo)

What inspires you to be an educator?

Being an educator has always been a goal of mine. I have grown up with relatives in education who are truly some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I want to be someone who nurtures the talents and interests of my students by listening, learning and growing right alongside them. Accessible and inclusive education for ALL students is a standard that needs to be met. I intend to celebrate and embrace my students by accommodating them in every way that I can.

Why was VCU a good fit for your next academic steps?

VCU embraces diversity and honors a diverse community. I wanted to be included in an academic space that accepts all students by allowing us to explore multiple avenues of learning.

What do you like most about your program experience?

In my experience with the English department, I have been encouraged by incredible staff and wonderful peers. In conjunction with the English department, my professors and peers within the Undergraduate Certificate in Disability Studies program have been the most supportive, understanding and accommodating of anyone in my academic experience thus far. I truly feel included in a group of like-minded, wonderful people who support me in my learning goals.

How does VCU and SOE support you in your career goals?

I have received so much support and information on my steps after college, such as getting a provisional teaching license and being able to conduct a classroom setting even with my English degree.

If there was one thing you could change about your SOE program, what would it be and why?

I truly think that this program is on the way to becoming a huge impact on the VCU student body. The more advocacy there is, by students like me and my peers, the larger this department will grow and the more support it will receive. This program is unlike any other I have encountered before, and because of this, I believe that it could truly inspire and reach so many corners of each department here at the university.

What was your admissions process like?

My admissions process for the Disability Studies Certificate program was easily accessible and broken down by my professors. I felt confident in the way that I was applying and was continuously uplifted by them that I was doing every single step the correct way.