Profile: Cheyla Samuelson

Cheyla Samuelson

Cheyla Samuelson, Assistant Professor of Spanish
World Languages and Literatures

Where were you before coming to SJSU?

Before coming to SJSU, I taught Spanish language classes at Merritt Community College in Oakland, CA. I’ll miss my students there, but I hope to see some of them as transfer students at SJSU.

Tell us something about your personal life, such as your family or your interests outside of work.

I live with my family in Berkeley, and I love the diversity and physical beauty of the Bay Area. I enjoy hiking and mountain biking in California’s many environments.

Why are you excited to be here?

I am excited to be part of SJSU’s mission to provide education and training for a diverse student body. I also look forward to sharing my experience of the rich cultural and intellectual history of Mexico with my new community.

What is your educational background?

As an undergraduate, I studied philosophy and literature at Hampshire College, Spanish at the University of Northern Colorado, and Hispanic Languages and Literatures at UC Santa Barbara. My thesis project was on the contemporary writer Cristina Rivera Garza. Some of the best parts of my undergraduate and graduates studies involved living and studying at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

I enjoy helping students to master new skills and to broaden their vision of the world. The feeling that we are working together to create something new is inspiring to me, and the success of my students gives me a sense of having helped them gain one step in their own individual journeys. As a teacher, I strive to respect each student, and to meet them where they are in their experiences and abilities.

What do you enjoy about being a specialist in your field?

My research focus is on contemporary Mexican literature. I especially enjoy traveling to Mexico, where I have been able to meet and interview some of the writers I admire. Working on living authors is both challenging and inspiring, and gives me the sense of literature as a living process. I love finding new books!

Please give us a quote that sums up your personal, educational, creative, or scholarly philosophy.

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates.