A Q&A with Mathematical Sciences’ Samantha Robinson
Samantha Robinson, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematical Sciences
In this conversation, Robinson talks about her passion for statistics and the joy of working with researchers from across campus; how much she cares and loves helping her students; how she hopes her students remember laughter and feeling success when they think back on her classes; and how much fun she has being outside hiking and playing with her daughter.
I am currently a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences (MASC) and the course coordinator for all of our 2000-level Statistics (STAT) courses.
While psychometric modeling (especially within the context of health policy) would be my self-described research passion, I consider myself to be more of a statistical consultant currently.
Most recently, I have been working with teams of researchers in other disciplines, providing them assistance with all things quantitative and more. In this consultant role, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on projects that I would not have worked on alone. I have had the opportunity to learn deeply about topics outside of my own field such as antimicrobial stewardship, infectious disease diagnosis, home visiting programs, child-centered play therapy, microaggressions, and more.
I think that the most exciting part about this role is the fact that I am constantly learning new things. Working with researchers outside of my department, outside of this university, and outside of academia also serves as a frequent reminder of my ability to contribute to others. I have also met some amazing people along the way!
My teaching has also allowed me to meet amazing people each and every semester. Each semester is an opportunity to learn something new from my students, to get to know many of them, and to give back.
I constantly try to give my students something more, something better, than what I had. Their successes (both large and small) are my joy. Their excitement is also mine. Knowing that I might be able to positively impact the wellbeing of even one student (for a single semester or more), knowing that I might have done one small thing that made all the difference to one person on one single day is both a great responsibility but also a very exciting thing.
While I have been teaching in the Fulbright College on and off in different roles for nearly one decade, I would say that my position here really became my ‘career’ in 2015.
Since that time, I have most enjoyed the people that have filled my days. I have enjoyed my students, my collaborators, my colleagues, and the many people that I would now call friends.
In recent years, I have enjoyed my service. I have enjoyed being on Faculty Senate, chairing our department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, conducting research with undergraduate students, and supervising graduate teaching assistants as they learn to teach. It is wonderful to know that I am helping to shape the future of this university in small but meaningful ways.
That I care.
I hope that they remember my passion for the subject. I hope that they remember my desire for them to learn.
Mostly, though, I hope that they remember that I wanted them safe, I wanted them well, I wanted them to care for themselves and for others, and I wanted them to succeed.
Most students come into my statistics classes with a great deal of apprehension. I hope that they remember laughter instead.
I hope that they remember workout Wednesdays but, also, that they remember how to think critically.
I hope that they remember that statistics was not that bad and, in fact, was extremely useful.
I hope that they know that they still matter to me and that I still care.
Q: What do you like to do during your time outside of the university?
Outside of the university, I just enjoy being outside!
The sun! Walks! Hikes! Sidewalk chalk! … All with my beautiful daughter!
Q: What’s up next on the horizon for you?
I have a few too many things on the horizon actually… I am definitely looking forward to all of them though!
I will be continuing my own research, conducting research with students, finishing a textbook for Principles of Statistics, pursuing further leadership roles on campus, developing new courses, and (soon) walking my daughter to her first Kindergarten class.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or let readers know?
Wear your helmet. Wear your seatbelt. Don’t text while driving. Look both ways when crossing streets.
Take care of yourself. Take care of others. And, of course, take more statistics courses! 😉