Andrés Castro Samayoa

Andrés Castro Samayoa

A.B. '10 Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Boston College
Photo of Andrés Castro Samayoa

As an international student (from El Salvador), I first came to Harvard thinking I would pursue a concentration in life sciences. A friend's Peer Advising Fellow encouraged me to take a WGS course called "Science, Gender, and Sexuality." I found the class illuminating; it was an entirely new perspective on scientific knowledge. I grew excited by the prospect of immersing myself in the ideals of a liberal arts education by concentrating in a new and unexpected discipline! In WGS, I found a supportive and collaborative intellectual community that allowed me to grow as a critical thinker. I think back to my time as a WGS concentrator as a defining moment in shaping my ability to connect complex theories with everyday experiences. Indeed, the knowledge I acquired through WGS courses has become a powerful lens with which I engage with the world.

My unexpected academic path became an invitation to reflect on my own undergraduate journey. As a WGS concentrator, my academic interests focused on the intersections of students' identities and their collegiate experiences. My thesis was an oral histories project focusing on the narratives of non-heterosexual Harvard alumni from 1941 through 1951. After graduating, I remained at Harvard and pursued my interest in higher education through a fellowship in the Office of Student Life, as well as working with the Freshman Dean's Office on Community and Diversity programming.

After working at Harvard, I completed an M.Phil. in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge through the generous support of a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. There, I wrote another historical dissertation focused on the social network of a Cambridge librarian that allowed me to explore questions of same-sex friendships in early 20th century Cambridge.

I returned to the U.S. in 2012 to begin a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, allowing me to connect my historical research with contemporary questions affecting student populations across a variety of institutional contexts. I also served as the Assistant Director for Assessment at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, where I had the joy of working as a Co-Principal Investigator on two large-scale national projects focused on diversifying the K-12 teaching profession and the professoriate in the humanities.

In fall 2017, I joined the faculty at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Higher Education. In addition to continuing my research on policies affecting students' experiences at Minority Serving Institutions, I teach courses on diversity and inclusion in higher education. My teaching is profoundly influenced by the pedagogical insights that I experienced alongside faculty within WGS. Further, I find that my research is deeply informed by a commitment to interrogate intersecting matrices of power and oppression which I began to develop during my undergraduate years in our WGS community. Feel free to be in touch by e-mailing me at or follow me on Twitter @andrescastrosam.



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