Dr Samantha Friedman

Lecturer in Applied Psychology

  • Institute for Education, Community and Society
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport

Contact details



Moray House School of Education and Sport
Holyrood Campus

Post code


Dr Samantha Friedman researches the intersection of autism, human-nature relationships, and wellbeing. 

Samantha completed her undergraduate degree in Special Education and History at Elon University in 2018. She then received a Fulbright grant to study in the UK; through her Fulbright, she earned her MSc Autism from the University of Strathclyde. She went on to undertake a PhD in Psychology at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof Claire Hughes and Prof Jenny Gibson. Her PhD focused on nature's role in supporting wellbeing in several understudied contexts: in young children during the Covid-19 pandemic and in autistic people across the life course. 

Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh, Samantha was a Lecturer in Education in the Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing at Northumbria University. 


BA Special Education and History, Elon University

MSc Autism, University of Strathclyde

PhD Psychology, University of Cambridge

Fellow of Advance HE

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Samantha's research focuses on critical perspectives on autism, nature, wellbeing, and the intersection of these topics. She is particularly interested in supporting autistic and otherwise neurodivergent young people through nature-based learning. Through her teaching and research, she also focuses on avenues for improving school experiences and environments for neurodivergent teachers and young people. 

View Samantha's publications here: Samantha Friedman — University of Edinburgh Research Explorer