Dr. Sam Bowden Akbari joined RPA in 2024 as our Director of Communications.

Sam received her Ph.D. in urban geography from Rutgers University in 2023. While completing her dissertation exploring the politics of public space, she worked with Deloitte Consulting as a national consulting writer crafting RFP responses and orals pitches for high-value (>$20m) opportunities within the Pursuit Center of Excellence. She is also published in prominent geography journals.

As a doctoral student, Sam worked both as an adjunct professor at Middlesex Community College and at Rutgers teaching urban development and regional geography courses. She also served as a senior researcher at the Rutgers’ Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement helping MURP students develop capstone studies on housing and food insecurity.

Prior to Rutgers, Sam earned her master’s degree analyzing urban municipal accumulation strategies while serving as communications manager on Commissioner Pat Kemp’s transit-focused, winning county commission campaign. As the communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Florida, Sam and her team helped produce segments of The Rachel Maddow Show shedding light on civil rights infringements against the Muslim community. Sam also worked for the public affairs consulting firm Tucker/Hall, Inc. advancing the Greenlight Pinellas Transportation Referendum on behalf of the Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority.

You can find Sam off the 6 train in East Harlem with her wife, an oral maxillofacial surgeon at Lincoln Hospital, and their catson, Shah Jahan, AKA the king of the world.