Ph.D. in African American and African Diaspora Studies
Where did you complete your Undergraduate Studies?
Florida State University
What degree are you working toward?
I am currently working to earn my Ph.D. in African American and African Diaspora Studies. My degree and major concentration emphasizes an interdisciplinary research approach to the study of Black life throughout the diaspora. Pursuing a graduate degree in African American and African Diaspora Studies has granted me the opportunity to survey the intersectionality of race, class, and gender in order to contribute to an understanding of the experiences of Blacks locally and globally throughout their respective geographies. My subfield/minor within the major is literature, and I specifically look at the value of African/Caribbean/African American autobiographies/memoirs in terms of how they can provide directives for future generations on how to uplift and heal themselves. I love my major, and am especially grateful for the global perspective and self-discovery that it provides offers.
Why did you choose graduate school at IU Bloomington?
I chose to attend IU Bloomington because it had all of my "must-haves" as far as my desired professional and graduate degree preferences. Prior to arriving at IU Bloomington, I researched my program online, and also spoke with my department several times on the phone. Everyone that I spoke with was quite friendly, and supportive of my research interests. I was also able to attend The University Graduate School's recruitment program, Getting You Into IU (GU2IU) in 2014 to visit the campus prior to attending. During my visit with GU2IU in 2014, I got a chance to walk around campus, and also meet and greet other prospective students and current faculty at IU Bloomington. Another perk to my visit with GU2IU in 2014 was that I got to sit in on a class lecture with one of the professors in AAADS, which was awesome! Based on my experience with GU2IU in 2014, and the reception that I received while reaching out to the department initially, I was thrilled to apply shortly afterward. I also learned, perhaps more importantly, about my funding opportunities within my department program and The University Graduate School during my recruitment visit, which was the "icing on the cake" for me.
What's been your favorite academic accomplishment since you've been here?
My favorite academic accomplishment since I've been enrolled as a Ph.D student in AAADS has been to receive two consecutive teaching awards based on my graduate work at one of the living learning center's here on IUB's campus. As a part of my graduate assistantship, I am assigned to teach the foundational course in the Thomas I. Atkins Living Learning Center for a predominately black student population. My teaching assignment in Atkins inspires work and service from me that extends to the University, as well as the larger Indiana state community. In a living learning community, students, staff, and faculty are treated like family. In the Atkins LLC, we take educational field trips, participate in critical discussions in the foundational class that I teach, and encourage personal excellence from all parties affiliated with the residence floor. Although my teaching in Atkins does not necessarily count my investment/work there with a letter grade, I feel that my dissertation research was directly manifested through my connection with the space and students. I would say, its been a win/win for me, and of course, a superior intellectual accomplishment to find and exercise my passion for people and storytelling simultaneously.
What do you enjoy most about life in Bloomington?
I enjoy Bloomington's quaint charm. As a city girl who has lived in many country or rural places, I tend to like the contrast of town's with a bit of a slower pace, especially if I'm trying to accomplish a goal that requires minimal distractions. I find that there are many activities and places to go to remain active (mostly outdoors) like the B-line and Lake Monroe. I also appreciate all of the events that you can attend on campus like the African American Arts Institute's Potpourri in the Fall and Spring concert series, which showcase undergraduate and graduate student talent in the performing and musical arts. There are also many academic events that students and faculty can attend relating to social justice, environmental, or political issues as well. Bloomington has really grown on me, due to its colorful seasons, and growing diverse student population. Current and prospective students are truly encouraged to cultivate their visions while residing here to get an education, invaluable professional development, and life experience. As a nearly four year Indiana resident, I consider myself a proud Indiana University Hoosier.
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