Dr. Jay Samant '09 graduated from Daemen with a deep passion for education and went on to pursue his masters at Binghamton University, and graduated with an M.S. in Special Education-Adolescence Education in 2011. He then moved to Virginia to serve as a Special Education and World Studies Teacher, and then as a District Leader in Special Education. During that time, he also completed his PhD in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership at The College of William and Mary.
What brought you to Daemen/Rosary Hill?
I chose Daemen because I was able to thrive through the individualized level of lectures and small student-to-faculty class ratio, which led to impactful interpersonal relationships that I was able to forge with professors, faculty, and students at Daemen.
I also chose Daemen with a focus and its commitment to the liberal arts, which allowed me to enhance my learning in adolescent education. I credit Daemen for building my passion and foundational skills in the education/teacher workforce industry.
I also really enjoyed the small campus, it was easy to make friendships, meet new people, and connect at the John R. Yurtchuk Student Center in the rec room or through student organizations.
Were you a commuter or resident?
What activities were you involved in as a student?
I founded the Daemen College Table Tennis Club (DCTTC), and served as the President from 2007-2009. During that time, I was able to help get Daemen accepted as a member institution of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, as we competed in the Upstate New York Division against colleges and universities across the Northeast and Canada. My senior year, I qualified for the NCTTA National Championships, as Daemen sponsored me and another Daemen student (that had qualified as well) to attend the tournament in Rochester, Minnesota, and compete.
I was also the Vice President of the History and Government Club, and a member of the Education Club.
Do you have a favorite professor, coach, mentor that impacted your life and experience at Daemen/Rosary Hill?
Dr. Tae Hyung-Kim! His teaching style and pedagogy of international relations and politics made his courses so engaging, as I had a focus/emphasis on History and Government as an Education major. In addition, he served as my thesis advisor during my senior year, and was instrumental in providing explicit feedback and mentoring me to complete and successfully defend my thesis.
Additionally, Ms. Diane Schultz! She served as my instructor for multiple Education courses. I always appreciated the field experience, reflective and collaborative activities she facilitated in her courses. It was insightful to share and hear about others' observations and student teaching experiences.
What do you remember most vividly from your time at Daemen/Rosary Hill?
I would say the Daemen College Table Tennis Club. It was such an incredible experience to start a student organization on campus and have the support of my peers and the staff at Daemen in sponsoring our competitions across the state and in Canada as well. Our overnight trips were such a great experience, and led to friendships. Having the opportunity to be part of this helped me make new friends on campus, and brought together residents and commuter students that shared a common interest.
What have you been up to since graduation?
Directly after graduating Daemen, I started my masters at Binghamton University, and graduated with an M.S. in Special Education-Adolescence Education in 2011, and moved to Virginia to serve as a Special Education and World Studies Teacher, and then as a District Leader in Special Education. During that time, I also completed my Ph.D in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership at The College of William and Mary. In 2016, I moved to Denver and served as a Founding High School Assistant Principal, High School Principal, and Central Leadership Director of Academic Readiness and College Success for a network of 10 public charter schools called STRIVE Prep, in Denver, Colorado. In June, I will be transitioning into higher education, serving as the Dean for Academic Affairs - High School to College Transitions & Instructional Pathways at the Community College of Denver. In addition, in 2022 I co-founded an education initiative, called Youth Talent Development Network (@youthtalentdevelopmentnetwork on Instagram), where we provide access for our Colorado secondary school students to hands-on, work-based experiential learning through coordinating internships, pre-apprenticeships, job shadowing, and other work-based learning activities that connect current professionals in showcasing various industries and careers to our young generation in improving the state of Colorado’s talent pipeline.
How did your experiences and education at Daemen/Rosary Hill prepare you for life after college?
My experiences and education at Daemen prepared me as an educator, as the courses and faculty in education enhanced my learning in adolescent education. I credit Daemen for building my passion and foundational skills in the education/teacher workforce industry.
How are you involved at Daemen as an alum?
It's been difficult for me to be involved with Daemen as much as I would like to since I live in Colorado, but I'd love to serve as a virtual mentor or be on the alumni database for undergrad or graduate students that are education majors to reach out to me if they have questions about their future career plans or need connections/recommendations in obtaining a job placement.
What advice do you have for current and prospective students interested in Daemen?
Connect with the professors and staff outside of class (i.e. office hours, etc). The faculty at Daemen are extremely helpful and supportive. In addition, being involved in a student organization was really impactful for me in developing friendships and a sense of belonging at Daemen. I highly recommend getting involved on campus activities!
For fun- List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.
- I am an immigrant, and moved to the United States during my childhood.
- I was nationally ranked 6th in table tennis for boys under 12 years of age, when I was 11 years old.
- To this day, I still believe Duff's in Buffalo has the best wings in the entire country.
- After Daemen, I lived in Virginia Beach for 5 years, and now reside in Denver, Colorado since 2016.