Brittany Brewster

Brittany Brewster

"Strengthen your expertise to transform communities"

College: Education
Degree Program: Higher Education
Degree: Doctorate

Awards: McKnight Dissertation Fellowship (2021)

Why FSU?
I selected FSU due to a shared interest in research with faculty in the Higher Education Program, the presence of scholars of color within the community, and overall quality of and familiarity with the department. As an alumna, I knew I would be well-supported in my area as community has always been critical to my success.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
I have always been a curious person; however, after working professionally for a few years, I found myself fascinated by patterns and frustrated with issues throughout higher education. Filled with more questions than answers, I knew that pursuing a doctoral degree would get me closer to finding solutions through research and would strengthen my ability to create change within and beyond the field.

Importance and impact of research
My research centers on the experiences of Black women doctoral scholars exploring the role of scholarly identity within their academic journeys. Black women in academia continue to be minoritized due to systemic inequities and discriminatory practices; yet, many are persisting. I look to highlight the negotiations Black women doctoral students make in support of their well-being and interests as scholars. My findings will help rethink socialization practices and policies to strengthen the support of Black women doctoral scholars and subsequent pathways to the professoriate.

Advice for prospective graduate students
I encourage people to do thorough research about potential programs and institutions to ensure that they are the right fit for them as individuals and align with their careers. Reach out and connect with faculty, program coordinators, and current students in the program. Along with finding a faculty member who has shared research interests and could serve as a mentor, individuals should look at the course requirements for their potential graduate degrees to be sure they support their goals as scholars. Additionally, if your program requires you to take electives or an outside discipline, be sure to research course offerings in those departments across campus. Some of the most enriching experiences I've had were beyond my department and college.

Accomplishments during graduate career
I am most proud to serve as an instructor for CARE Bridge to Graduate School, a for-credit graduate school preparatory program comprised of academic preparation (one-credit hour course), mentoring, and professional development experiences for first-generation CARE students. As a former mentor and instructor, I successfully supported students' matriculation and graduation for various grad programs. I am also proud of my McKnight Dissertation Fellowship. In alignment with my research interests on Black women doctoral students, working closely with Sisters of the Academy to facilitate their biennial Research BootCamps and other professional development programs throughout the year continues to affirm the need for culturally responsive spaces and representation of Black women in academia. Within my department, I enjoyed representing doctoral students in my program as the 2020-2021 Higher Education Student Affairs Doctoral Chair. Additionally, I value rethinking policies and practices to create a more just community as a member of the Coalition for Justice and Inclusion committee in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Serving as a teaching assistant for master and doctoral courses also allows me to support the development of other students while strengthening my teaching skills. Within the higher education field, I have shared my research at national and international conferences including the Association of the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), International Leadership Association (ILA), and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Additionally, I’ve presented research during our department’s Relevant Research Roundtable (R3) professional development series alongside faculty mentors. I am also proud to be a recipient of the Myrtis Langston Watts Endowed Scholarship. Finally, as a former student affairs practitioner, I value being able to encourage students' development in their co-curricular experiences by engaging in the broader campus community. This background has led to me serving as a facilitator for the FSU Women’s Leadership Institute and as a program reviewer for the FSU Garnet and Gold Scholar Society.

Career aspirations
I am interested in pursuing a career that embraces my commitment to disrupting systemic inequities in education and supporting the success of underrepresented communities. Currently, I am looking at careers in academia as a faculty member or education researcher.