For Ron Samul ’91, the essence of Mitchell has remained strong since he was a student earning his associate degree in general studies.
“The small classes, invested and purposeful faculty, and learning and social support remain the same, but what has changed is the vision and commitment to the students, putting them on pathways to success. It continues to impress me how connected the students are to their experience and their learning.”
Samul sees this first-hand in his work as assistant director of Thames at Mitchell College, a pre-college transition program that focuses on student college readiness. The program works with neurodiverse learners – representing complex learning pathways – who are college-able but not yet college-ready.
His own pathway to success led Samul from Mitchell to Eastern Connecticut State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in creative and professional writing from Western Connecticut State University. He is currently working on completing a doctorate in educational leadership.
As a student at Mitchell, Samul found inspiration to write from Dr. Joe Medeiros, a professor in the English/Language/Fine Arts department.
“Dr. Medeiros turned me toward literature. He said my writing wasn’t very good, but my ideas were excellent. It inspired me to work harder.”
Samul was also taught by professors Marc Goldsmith, Don Helms, Catherine Wright, Wilma Hasse and Jennifer O’Donnell.
One of Samul’s favorite memories is of working on the “Thamesana,” the college newspaper, under the direction of Ted Hargrove, the public relations and development director at the time.
“I developed a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility under his watchful eye,” Ron said.
The New London native is author of the 2019 novel “The Staff,” about a village with a strange and sordid past, and is a certified technical scuba diver who worked for an operation that took divers to shipwrecks and historical sites off the New England coast.
Samul said he has always appreciated the culture and vision of Mitchell. After earning his bachelor’s degree and working various jobs, he returned to Mitchell in 2004 to work as a writing tutor. In 2008, after earning his MFA, he joined Thames at Mitchell College as a writing instructor and advisor, before moving to his current position.
“Over the last 14 years, I’ve never worked the same day twice. The students always make my work so exciting, fun and rewarding. It is their success that makes all the hard work valuable.”