Professor Samantha Gigliotti did not intend to pursue a career in education; rather the opportunity came to her.
As a college student, Gigliotti found herself running programs and educational sessions for Wildlife Conservation officers and undergraduate students. Her advisor at East Stroudsburg University (ESU) picked up on her natural teaching ability. “I tried it out, I loved it and that’s what I stuck with,” says Gigliotti.

Finding a job came naturally as well once she obtained her master’s from ESU. A friend from grad school reached out to her about open positions at County College of Morris (CCM). She started part-time and transitioned to a full-time professor the following year.

She quickly found teaching to be a rewarding vocation. After her first semester teaching, a student reached out via email to thank Gigliotti for relating to her like no professor ever had. Understanding some professors forget what it’s like to sit in a classroom, Gigliotti, as a recent grad, had a good understanding of what it’s like being a student. It’s something she has strived hard to remember. “When I’m going over complex things, I say, ‘Alright I know someone has a question’ because this all didn’t make sense to me when I first learned it.’”
Gigliotti doesn’t intend to stop learning either. A professor from ESU told her each semester and each year would further her knowledge and what she is able to bring into the classroom. “I always want to refresh my lab skills, so I can tie that into the newer stuff I’m teaching,” she says. “Learning is a process that never ends.”
Gigliotti also benefits from interacting with her students. “As a student at a large university, I felt in some classes I was herded in. I would be in a huge lecture hall and would feel more hesitant to get in there and ask questions,” she recalls. As a community college teacher, on the other hand, she is able to take the time to have one-on-one conversations that allow students to truly understand and learn. “I don’t think I would ever switch gears and go to a four-year university because I wouldn’t get that time with the students like I do here at CCM,” she says.