Samuel began his college career when most people finish theirs, at 22, when he started taking classes at Shasta College before his evening shifts as a line cook and kitchen manager in the small city of Redding, California. He enjoyed his English class so much that first semester that one day he went to office hours and asked the professor, "How do I get your job?" The professor told him, "Well, you've got to learn to write really good research papers, so you can get into a good grad school." So, that day Samuel went to the library, bought a novel for a dollar from the discard shelf, and decided to write a paper about it. And that's how it all began.
Samuel went on to finish his bachelor's degree in English with honors at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a Haas Research Fellowship and won the university's Charlene Conrad Prize for undergraduate research. Now, he is a PhD candidate in English at Harvard University, writing about nationalism, cultural history, and literature. In 2019, he won Harvard's Bowdoin Prize for the best essay by a graduate student. At Harvard, Samuel teaches classes on rhetoric, composition, and public speaking; poetry; and the history of the novel. He has also worked as a writing tutor through both college and graduate school, helping students with applications and at all stages of academic writing.
In his spare time, Samuel still likes to cook, both for himself and for friends. He also has picked up the habit of writing poetry, and is working on his first book of poems, The Factory Ship, about the secret history of the fish we eat and the people who catch, prepare, and cook it.