ASPIRE’s Diversity Graduate Student Panel

On February 21st, ASPIRE, a student support group for education and human service majors, hosted a panel of diverse graduate students at the Center for Black Culture. The panel convened to dispense advice to undergraduate considering graduate school. Attendees were provided with advice on the application process, scholarships, and academic planning. However, a large part of the discussion centered on the struggles of being a minority students in the homogeneous field of graduate study.

Jehnae Linkins is a doctoral student in the college of Health Sciences:

“People try to put you down, so you have to prove yourself.”

Sherron Howard is a doctoral student in the College of Health Science. She is a 2016 Lincoln University graduate in biology and is currently in her first year of studying Applied Physiology at the doctoral level. Recently, she was awarded the  LSAMP Bridge to Doctorate Fellowship.

On being a minority postgraduate student at UD:

“I don’t feel like I’m treated any differently, but I do feel like I need to be cautious.”

Sarah Patterson is studying 19th Century African-American literature at the Doctoral level. She is especially passionate about the writings of female African-American writers around the turn of the century. She is most proud of having created the program that funds her education at UD.

On handling the pressure in a competitive field:

“You’re always gonna feel an innate need to overcompensate.”

“You got to know what you’re capable of and keep fighting.”

Mahlet Woldeyes studies chemical Engineering at the doctoral level:

“I know that I am black, but my science has to be my driving force.”

Ayanna Bundy, an undergrad and ASPIRE member who attended the panel, spoke about how valuable the experience was:

“…such an informative event! The panelists gave me so much insight into planning for graduate school, applying for different schools, and succeeding academically and socially while in graduate school.”

“I networked with one of the panelists after the event and she offered to help me in any way possible. I am extremely glad I attended the event!”