Vida Samuel, HDFS Faculty Spotlight, March 2023

Vida Samuel, PhDVida Samuel came to UConn Stamford in 2016 as an adjunct professor while leading a communication consulting business for women new to leadership positions. She has been an Assistant Professor in Residence in HDFS since 2018.

Vida is a scholar in women’s studies and intercultural communication and received her master’s in speech and interpersonal communication from New York University where she was also an administrator and sat on the Dean’s leadership team. Her interests focus on the sexual lives of women at midlife. During her time at NYU, Vida developed recruitment and retention strategies focused on non-traditional graduate and doctoral nursing students and students of color. She also served as the President of the Greater New York Healthcare Recruiters Association and as the scholarship chair, raising funds for undergraduate nursing student scholarships for New York City nursing students. Vida was instrumental in increasing NYU’s undergraduate student membership to paraprofessional nursing associations. She also sat on the Advance Nurses Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.

After living in New York City for 17 years, Vida left to pursue her PhD with a focus in intercultural communication and women’s studies at Howard University. While in Washington DC, she worked as a researcher at FHI 360, a global, human development, non-profit organization that studies and gathers evidence to deliver community based solutions in the United States and around the world.

Vida is active in her community and is often a featured speaker for issues impacting women and girls. In a 2022 Babe with the Power podcast, she examined the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe v Wade on young college women. She facilitated a conversation for young women in high school and college on Race in America and was interviewed for the Healin’ Podcast about anti-racist perspectives. Vida served as an education expert panelist responding to the Fairfield County Community Foundation – Fund for Women and Girls 2019, Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index, was a featured speaker and panelist for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame Your Voice your Vote: Be Remote to Promote the Vote and The “F” Word – Feminism: A Conversation Between Generations. Vida’s interests in the arts provided her with an opportunity to be the copy editor for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s exhibit program Unveiling Visions and co-editor of the companion book, Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent. She also peer reviews academic journals.

Vida currently serves on the board of LiveGirl, and in 2022, along with UConn students and LiveGirl interns, held a rally in Stamford for HB-5272, a bill to reduce the social stigma and shame attached to menstruation and move toward health equity. She evaluates scholarship applications for the Mandela-Washington Fellows program and volunteers as an academic mentor for the annual Jackie Robinson Foundation Mentoring and Leadership Conference. She is a contributor to the recent released report The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Connecticut’s Women: A Statewide Data Collection Initiative published by The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in Connecticut.

Vida was born in St. Lucia, holds a certificate in culinary arts, has a deep love of food, experimenting with unfamiliar food products, and entertaining. She is also a music enthusiast who is fascinated with drums, regularly attends live concerts, and cannot live without David Sedaris’ books. Vida lives in Fairfield County with her husband.

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