Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams

”Education is the bridge to opportunity”

College: Education
Degree Program: Higher Education
Degree: Doctorate

Award: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2023)

Why FSU?

As a practitioner, I believe in providing exceptional customer service to my students. In short, my students are my “why.” The student-centered drive that I have is what drew me to the collaborative, student-focused environment that is embedded into the culture of the Higher Education Program at Florida State. Upon speaking to Dr. Beatty, I was immediately encouraged that I will be able to actively voice my opinions and ideas and be heard by not only my peers, but faculty alike. So, finding a program that mirrored the level of support that I provide my students is indicative of a good fit.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I was motivated to pursue a graduate degree by having influential professors, colleagues, and mentors at my alma mater constantly encourage me and never let me be mediocre. As an HBCU alumna, I have always valued education and wanted to follow in the footsteps of my former professors and mentors, but life sometimes has a habit of getting in the way. Yet, my HBCU network never let me “just work”; they worked with me every step of the way, and I am eternally grateful for their support.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

My research interest focuses on the socio-economic insecurity that impacts college readiness, student success, and career readiness for African American students. This research will directly highlight how administrative intervention practices can reduce financial insecurity and change the trajectory of the next generation of at-risk student leaders. I believe it is essential for higher education administrators and students to constantly be working toward reducing the socio-economic gap that disproportionately effects minority communities.

Career aspirations

I aspire to be the director of an undergraduate student success center at an HBCU. I want to continue to academically coach and mentor students of color because I see how impactful my current work is on the trajectory of students’ lives in and out of the classroom—representation matters.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Go for it! The work is challenging, but as long as you are passionate and committed to the mission, you will be successful. Most importantly, stay encouraged and never be afraid to ask for help.

Accomplishments during graduate career

During my graduate career, I have received the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and the FAMU Graduate Feeder Fellowship.