Spotlight Spotlighting a UH Woman Each Month

Dr Sam

Dr. Thomandra Sam

What is your position and title at UH?

Outreach Coordinator/ Staff Psychologist at UH Counseling and Psychological Services

 

How long have you worked here?

I joined the Cougar family July 2012.

What is your educational and work background?

I attended Louisiana State University and Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.  I received a Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Culture & Writing as well as a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology.  I then attended Auburn University and earned my doctorate in Counseling Psychology.  During this time I completed a Master’s internship in Marriage and Family Therapy at Glanton House and a Pre-Doctoral Psychology internship at the Redfern Health Center of Clemson University. Prior to joining UH, I working within another university counseling center as the Culture & Gender Specialist focusing on sexual and gender identity, ethnocultural relations, spiritual affiliations and practices as well as other diverse themes and clinical concerns. 

What are your job responsibilities and duties?

Within Counseling and Psychological Services, I serve as a psychologist providing individual, couples and group therapy to the UH student population.  I also engage in other services such as crisis intervention, after hours oncall emergency services, learning assessment, and training of masters-level and pre-doctoral psychology clinicians.  Within my particular job duties as Outreach Coordinator, I organize the National Mental Health Screening Days for topics such as depression and anxiety, Food for Thought workshops (every Wednesday at noon), Let’s Talk hosted in various locations on campus, etc.  CAPS provides a lot of helpful skills and preventative education to the UH community; to make a request, Coogs should go to http://www.uh.edu/caps/outreach/outreach_request_form.html.

What do you enjoy about your work?

There are two things that stand out for me.  First, I am humbled by the courage and willingness of students to meet with me and share their fears, successes, pain, etc.  I truly believe it is a privilege to do the work that I do and I am honored students trust me to have an opportunity to play a role in their journey toward optimal mental health and academic success.  Second, I really enjoy engaging with the UH community through outreach; it helps to reach a larger mass of people about how to best care for ourselves and function more optimally.  It is my hope that CAPS outreach can provide skills that heighten awareness and increase knowledge toward reduced distress and increased coping, ultimately resulting in a healthier UH community.

What advice or encouragement would you give UH staff and students?

My encouragement would be to balance care for yourself and your fellow Coogs.  I believe it is important to integrate into a culture but it’s vital to we help to mold and shape that culture to reach more people and increase its potential for greatness.  Come to UH, be a Coog and help make our family better than when you joined it!  So often students or staff will come to campus and have experiences that are beneficial or harmful yet these are not highlighted or communicated to the larger campus community.  We can’t grow without this information.  Whether your experiences are wonderful or difficult, please share them so we can integrate these healing and progressive pieces into the fabric of the UH community.

What is something about you than many co-workers know about you?

Since I was a young child, my father and I had very limited time together given his job having him out on weekends and evenings.  On weekend mornings, we would sit next to each other in bed and my mother would bring him coffee and me milk with enough coffee to think I was copying my father.  We would sit there and watch either The Three Stooges or The Little Rascals.  After this ended, wrestling would come on.  My father and I loved to watch Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Sting and countless others take on each other in the ring.  This tradition began when I was a small child; to this day my secret is that I watch wrestling twice a week: Monday night Raw and Friday night Smackdown.  I am even more excited to learn of a WWE network starting shortly! Yay!