Sam Castañeda graduated with a B.A. in sociology from San Francisco State University, and has worked for the University of California (UC)—at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses—for more than 20 years. During this time, he created innovative programs that lent support to international students and scholars. Concurrently, Sam also held leadership positions with the California chapter of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. At the national level, Sam is currently chair of the newly recognized NAFSA Postdoc Special Interest Group and is the institutional liaison between NAFSA and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).
At UC Berkeley, Sam was instrumental in the development of the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Program- the first postdoc office in the UC system and one of the first in the United States.
As director of Berkeley’s VSPA Program, Sam is responsible for the oversight of postdocs at Berkeley, who are provided with a variety of professional support systems such as lecture series, networking events, and other tools which help to broaden career and professional development opportunities for Berkeley’s 1,500 postdocs. With an extensive international student and scholar background, Sam has won recognition for a variety of customized courses serving the international research community.
Sam is founder and managing editor of UC Postdoc Newsletter, an electronic journal that connects more than 6,500 postdocs with 500 faculty and staff administrators who work together to enhance the postdoctoral experience at UC.