The Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (URSCA) is thrilled to welcome Dr. Samanda Robinson to our full-time staff. Beginning today, Dr. Robinson will serve as the Academic Program Administrator responsible for overseeing our new Ph.D. Pathway program that is launching this summer. The Ph.D. Pathway for Advancement in the Humanities and Social Sciences (PATHS) aims to prepare students from HBCUs and other Minority-Serving Institutions to pursue Ph.D.s in the humanities and social sciences. Dr. Robinson will lead efforts to recruit student participants, faculty mentors, and institutional partners to support the success of the next generation of humanists and social scientists. She will also be the lead instructor in the 10-week residential summer research experience at the heart of the PATHS program, and will oversee the development of additional structures of support for PATHS alumni once they enter graduate school.
While this is a new position for Dr. Robinson, she has had a long relationship with the URSCA office. Most recently, she was our Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, serving as the lead instructor in the summer Humanities Collaboratory, an intensive research experience for community college students which will serve as the model for the new PATHS program. In fact, Dr. Robinson has been teaching in the Humanities Collaboratory longer than any other member of the URSCA staff, having started as a graduate instructor in 2019, while working on her Ph.D. in the English department at Johns Hopkins. Drawing on her experience in the Collaboratory, Dr. Robinson has spoken on panels about mentoring underrepresented students and has published a co-authored article on the cohort-based humanities research model in the Innovative Higher Education Journal.
Dr. Robinson’s commitment to supporting students from backgrounds underrepresented in academia extends far beyond her work with URSCA. For two years during her graduate studies, she worked as the FLI Initiatives Program Coordinator Graduate Assistant in the Center for Student Success, advocating for academic equity and belonging for FLI (first-generation and limited-income) students at Hopkins through program design, grant writing, event coordination, and mentorship. And for the past two summers, Dr. Robinson has taught a Decoding College Writing course in the Hop-In program for incoming FLI students, helping them get acclimated to Hopkins and to the kinds of thinking, reading, writing, and collaborating they will get to engage in here. At every opportunity, Dr. Robinson generously shares her experience and expertise in ways that uplift emerging scholars and build their self-confidence.
An accomplished scholar of African American literature, speculative fiction, Afrofuturism, science fiction, and 20th-century American literature, Dr. Robinson holds a Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in English from Fisk University, where she was a UNCF/Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.
We in the URSCA office feel extremely fortunate to have Dr. Samanda Robinson taking the lead of our new Ph.D. Pathway program and supporting our mission to increase access to research opportunities for all.