Adriana Samper: Learning goes both ways

Faculty Sketch

It’s surprising that Adriana Samper didn’t seriously think about academia as a potential career, considering both of her parents are professors. But it wasn’t until she after she graduated with a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania, that she began to think about how neuroscience and psychology intersect with business.

“So I decided to go back to school and learn more about consumer behavior,” says Adriana.

After receiving her PhD in marketing from Duke University, Adriana was looking forward to applying at universities in warmer climates.

“Growing up in Connecticut, being in a warm, sunny place seems like such a luxury,” she says.

“W. P. Carey had a strong marketing department, with some impressive names in the field. It had a really good reputation, so I was excited to fly out here and check it out,” she says.

“The day I was here visiting with faculty, I knew right away it was going to be a great place to work. It was Halloween, and a bunch of the staff and faculty were dressed up in costumes. I was seeing them in a totally different type of environment than most other interviewees,” says Adriana. “It was crazy because I was in my suit and everyone else was in costume. But that’s when I knew I was going to love working here.”

“W. P. Carey does a really good job of bringing people together, both formally and informally, for work and for fun. It is such a warm and welcoming place to be.”

One of the best parts of being a professor is the freedom to research what interests her, says Adriana. “For example, sometimes I see people and I say, ‘That’s so weird! Why did that person react that way to this situation? I’m going to run a study to see why this is.’”

But that’s not the only thing she likes about working at W. P. Carey. “The relationships I’ve been able to form, both with undergrad and grad students and my peers, have been nothing short of amazing,” she says.

“I had a grad student last year who became interested in design and aesthetics as it applies in marketing products, and now I find myself gravitating to research in that area, which I would’ve never considered before had I not heard his dissertation,” she says.

“Some of my students are so brilliant, impressive, I want to encourage them to go into academia and continue their research,” says Adriana.

While Adriana appreciates the opportunity to engage in research, she is also very enthusiastic about engaging in the classroom.

“When I do my syllabus, I try to put myself in their shoes,” says Adriana. “For example, would I want to read six chapters the day I get back from spring break?” She laughs. “Everyone is happier when they feel valued and considered.” Adriana says she appreciates that the faculty at W. P. Carey are very thoughtful in how they approach teaching.

“Academia is great because you can share knowledge, but also have an impact on someone’s life,” she says.

When she’s not busy listening to mysteries on audiobook, hiking, or daydreaming about retiring in Spain, Adriana is eagerly taking on an expanded role in W. P. Carey’s doctoral program, and seeking to develop unique collaborations with other researchers.


What’s your favorite W. P. Carey School event? My favorite is the Leaders Academy mixer – you get to know many undergrads. It’s really a good way (in an informal environment) to take stock of what students like, what they’re interested in, and what kinds of jobs they want to apply for. And it keeps me in the loop.

What is one interesting or fun fact about your team/office? I’m part of a women’s writing group. Research found that women in writing groups were publishing more frequently than women who go at it alone. It’s only three hours a week, but I’ve got so much out of it.

It’s not a networking session, but a place where you can congregate with like-minded women and get your research written and feel supported. For me, that time is sacred. There are women from management, marketing and CIS, and it’s been great, because I’ve gotten to know some people from outside my department and I can ask questions and bounce ideas off of them.

Do you have any advice to offer? Work doing something that you’re passionate about and share that passion with your friends and family.

Have you taken any classes or gone to any conferences that you really like? Some of the alumni events are really cool. I really liked the Back to Class event. I got to speak at one, on cultural missteps organizations have made in global marketing when they enter markets in other countries. It was really neat to touch base with former students and meet new alums.

Where is your “never fail” lunch spot on or near campus and what’s your favorite menu item? The food at The Dhaba is so good. Just choose wisely when they ask you how spicy you like it.


If you could be in any other career, what would it be? Ideally, I’d do some kind of non-profit work or research in sustainability that could have an actionable impact on the way people behave when it comes to social change and try to get people to think beyond Earth Day.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I’ve always wanted to go to the Maldives. They’re really beautiful, but with global warming and rising tides, it’s unclear how long visiting them is going to be possible. I want to see them before they disappear.

If you could have one super power, what would it be? It would be cool to have the powers of flight and invisibility, but I have a terrible sense of direction and I think I was would be totally awkward if I was invisible. I wish I could stop time, though. Then I could get more done and have more time to sleep.

Do you volunteer for any causes that are particularly important to you? I really love animals. I used to volunteer for the Arizona Animal Welfare League. Once my children are a bit older, I’d like to go back and continue volunteering.

What movie can you watch over and over? A Few Good Men


Salty or sweet? Both
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Soda or energy drink? Soda
Cat or dog? Dog
Truck or car? Car
Board games or video games? Board games
Fiction or non-fiction? Both
Facebook or face-to-face? Face-to-face
Breakfast or lunch? Breakfast
Morning person or night owl? Night owl