For Leslie Samuel, it was a moment in a Systems Physiology class at Andrews University in Michigan when he knew what he would do with his life. The class involved the structures and complexities of neurons.
“It just blew my mind because I'm here thinking, man, all of this stuff is happening inside of me. This is amazing. And I got so excited that I just wanted to learn more and more and more and more, and I just started studying like crazy,” says Samuel. “My love for biology was birthed in that class.”
Today, Samuel is the founder and main force behind Interactive Biology, a powerful presence on YouTube and on the web.
Interactive Biology produces colorful instructional videos that are wildly popular. Several have more than 1 million views. The Interactive Biology YouTube channel has 217,000 subscribers. And counting. Samuel is the public face and self-effacing cheerleader who shares detailed insights about biology and human anatomy.
“The Urinary System and Anatomy (An Introduction).” “The Structures of the Distal Humerus.” “Gateways to the Posterior Scapular Regions.” And so on. He’s also producing Tik Tok style videos—quick hits on key ideas. “Taller In The Morning But Shorter At Night.” And “Five Senses? Yeah Right!”
More than 100 videos to date. And counting.
Samuels’ love for his subject is contagious. He leads with entertainment and humor, but his goal is the same as any academic—deep understanding.
In the interview, Samuel said teachers have a “responsibility” to make sure that courses end up giving students what they need, not just what they want. That effort starts with giving students an appreciation of the structures and functions of the human body. As he puts it, “to spark curiosity.” And then connecting that information to their own bodies.
Says Samuel: “As I create this series, they're going to start getting more and more things that are going to help them to make better decisions about how to live their life, better decisions about what to put inside their body … You're tricking people into caring about their bodies more. Because when they care more about their bodies, they live better lives.”
Samuel said he came across the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System when he was teaching high school biology (before starting Interactive Biology). The “tactile approach,” says Samuel, “took my knowledge of anatomy to the next level.”
Occasionally Samuel returns to the island of St. Maarten, where he was raised, to talk to students. “And I show them that it's possible … to have an impact. I mean, with the technology that we have today, anyone can have an impact … That full-circle moment of being able to help others to discover their passions and use their passions, to have an impact on the world—that is the is the most rewarding thing.”
And thanks for all you do, Leslie Samuel!