First, the College of Education's Higher Education and Educational Leadership and Policies Studies programs are some of the best in the country. Second, there was a degree of flexibility so I could continue working full-time for FSU while pursuing my doctorate. My husband and I (we both work at FSU) are both pursuing doctoral degrees and are in the same cohort. It's been one of the best things we've ever done together. Finally, the scholarship, networks, and research that are coming from the faculty in the College of Education are outstanding, and I want to be part of that culture.
Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
I currently work as a mid-level administrator at FSU. Pursuing a doctorate was a step I wanted to take for my own career path, to open doors that may not have been there without a terminal degree. As I move through this program, I'm realizing that just going through the curriculum, writing, and conducting research here is helping me in my current job. Prior to applying for the graduate program, my husband and I were both intrigued in it while interviewing faculty across the country for our podcast, Success in Black and White. As we learned more about how our interviewing hobby could be turned into empirical research, we decided together to pursue our degrees. Being in the graduate program has taught me how to think critically through the issues that impact all of us at FSU. I'm excited to graduate and to continue to work with the faculty and my colleagues to explore solutions to critical issues we see in our community and around the world.
Importance and/or impact of research and work
My research will examine non-faculty staff perceptions of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at FSU. Exploring the impact of programming that aims to make people feel like they belong is critical to understanding workplace culture and employee morale. We are at a crossroads in American culture; we're entrenched in a time when diversity, equity and inclusion is a divisive topic in our country and specifically in the state of Florida. My study will shed light on the experiences of the people we tend to undervalue in higher education: service staff who are crucial to the mission yet overlooked in favor of faculty or executives.
My career path is in higher education. I've served on the student side, helping students navigate the institution and their lives in Student Affairs. I have also worked in Academic Affairs, working on large institutional initiatives, fundraising efforts, research support, and strategic goals and outcomes. Having seen and worked in many sides of higher education, I'd like to move into leadership roles that provide strategic direction for various parts of the university.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
Do your research beforehand. Explore the school and faculty reputations, talk to current and former students, attend information sessions, and decide if the program fits your needs. Regardless of what chapter of life you're in, you'll need a support network while in school. Understand realistically what the workload and time requirements are and communicate how you'll need the people in your life to step in and support you.
Accomplishments during graduate career
I ran the Tallahassee Half-Marathon in Spring 2022!