Jesse Ford

Jesse Ford

"Keep going! The world needs you!"

College: Education
Degree Program: Higher Education
Degree: Doctorate

Award: McKnight Dissertation Fellowship (2019)


Video Credit: Samantha Klupchak, UROP Research Assistant

Why FSU?
Honestly, I was working a full-time job at the University of Miami prior to coming here. I was having a great experience when I realized I was ready to do something else. I applied to a number of institutions, but when I met my advisor, Dr. Tamara Bertrand Jones, I knew FSU was where I needed to be. Very rarely do you meet someone who is genuinely interested in people. She is amazing and has been interested in my growth and success since the day I met her. That’s what it really came down to for me, human connection and intentional mentoring support. I was looking for an environment where I could learn, grow, and develop; I knew FSU would help me do that.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
My motivation, passion, and drive for pursuing this PhD is to strengthen my ability to invest in other people. My work before starting this program was to help other people see their potential. After completing this process, I want to continue that work and motivate others to pursue education.

Importance of research and work
My research primarily explores the experiences of Black males in graduate education. More specifically, I am interested in how they navigate racially primed environments and how these environments impact their perception of self, mental health, and development. Black men in this country are pursing education at lower levels than every other racial and ethnic group in higher education. Why is that? We need to bring more Black males in to higher education to do the research to answer this question, teach, and facilitate student growth as we move toward a more global society.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school
Find and discover your passion. Once you do, graduate school will become something you love. Think of this as a time to invest in yourself so you can find ways to develop and create sustainable change for our global society.

Accomplishments during your graduate career that you are proud of
I have presented amazing research on the experience of Black men and women, nationally and internationally. Earlier this year, my peers, classmates, and colleagues nominated me for the Florida State University Hardee Center & Higher Education Program Peer Leadership Award. I was also recently selected as a McKnight Dissertation Fellow

Career aspirations
My career aspirations are to continue research that allows me to create more opportunities for Black males to pursue higher education. I have a strong interest in being a faculty member at a college or university. However, my background is in college administration, so I would also be happy exploring that avenue after graduation.