Sam Nelson

Sam Photo

Position Title
TA Consultant

The Grove, 1342

Howdy! My name is Sam Nelson (he/him), and I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Musicology. My research currently explores how the United States used jazz musicians as cultural diplomats during the Cold War, and how jazz diplomacy contributed to civil rights discourse. Since I was an undergraduate student, my focus has been on music history, performance, and education, and I have had the privilege of working with students of varying ages and academic interests. While studying at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, I volunteered at the local high school assisting the director with the jazz, concert, and marching bands. I was a TA for lower- and upper-division music history courses at the University of Hartford, where I also had the opportunity to design and teach my own Introduction to Music class for non-music majors. As I continue to work with non-music majors at UC Davis, I encourage all my students to find beauty in art and forge deeper connections to the music they interact with daily.

My primary instrument is trumpet, but you can find me jamming on the washtub bass with the UC Davis Bluegrass and Old Time String Band.