Monday, October 31

This Time, Last Year

This time of year is special because we get to see all the hard work of our current cohort come to fruition (through research presentations, applications to grad school, etc.) and we get to round up another highly motivated group of scholars to continue on with the charge of obtaining their Ph.D.’s. That’s what McNair is about – taking your education to the level of a Ph.D. so that you have greater options for the kind of work you ultimately do.

So, as I meet with our new prospective scholars and get ready to read their applications and interview each one, I became inspired to revisit each of your statements that you submitted in order to become a McNair scholar. This time, last year – this is what you had to say:
“As a psychology and youth studies major my goal is to gain expertise in these areas and obtain a Ph.D. Anything worth achieving usually requires great commitment, and a Ph.D. in psychology is worth my efforts.”
~Maame Adomako

“My professional goals are to finish graduate school, receive my Ph.D. in Communication and ultimately, teach Intercultural Communication or Gender Communication. I want to teach students how to successfully solve conflicts that they may have with someone from a different racial or ethnic background.”
~Donnesha Blake

“I want a career that will be my life. When I got my first taste of archaeology I knew that I had found my calling….after a lifetime of wondering I can finally say that I know who I am and what I want from life. I am determined to receive my Ph.D. and to become the first professor in my family.”
~Justin Cramb

“While the ultimate goal is to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree, I am as interested and driven to research and publish within my field of study and to share that knowledge through teaching and mentoring college students. As a non-traditional student, I possess an unwavering commitment and preparedness in pursuing my aspirations of becoming a university professor.”
~Eric Denby

“Being a college professor would give me the opportunity to share my story and inspire those that felt the way that I did. It would also give me the opportunity to share the gifts that I have been given.”
~Tanisha Finister

“My professional goals are to conduct research in the field of clinical psychology. I ultimately see myself at a university, teaching and being very involved in research...graduate school and a Ph.D. program particularly, is vital to my being able to achieve my career goals.”
~Melissa Hanell

“My goal is to become a professional historian. I desire to be on the frontlines of academic research as it relates to the Middle East. In addition to pursuing a Ph.D., I plan to become a military officer.”
~Timothy Kimbel

“A doctoral degree is essential to being a leading force in any discipline, as the holders of such a degree are at the forefront of developing new concepts and ideas that lead to the betterment of all society. “
~Masani McGee

“I want to pursue a M.D. /PhD. I will be prepared for that step just out of pure determination. A Ph.D. would mean that I could continue work with neurodegenerative disease as I am interested in… not just practicing medicine directly, but also finding new ways to save lives outside of the operating room, and inside the laboratory.”
~Justin Mendoza

“My primary professional goal is to do everything I can to help families like my own by developing community-based programs that will enrich the lives of every day individuals by empowering them to help themselves attain a healthier lifestyle. Earning a Ph.D. will act as a stepping stone, qualifying me to perform research and fill gaps in nutritional information, while also allowing me to work to change the lives of others by passing my passion and knowledge on.”
~Jennifer Messing

“I plan to apply to graduate schools to earn a doctoral degree in Public Health Education. In order to reach my goal of teaching at the college level as a professor, I realize that a Ph.D. is vital. A Ph.D. is a prestigious degree, and I know that having this degree opens up so many opportunities in life.”
~Carissa Schmidt

“I am in pursuit of a Ph.D. not only for the knowledge that I could gain, and the information that I could contribute, but also the opportunities that I would not have if I did not pursue a Ph.D. I want to become a marriage and family therapist to help lower the 50% rate of divorce, and try to increase the number of solid families.”
~Marquitta Swann

These statements inspire me! I hope they continue to inspire you! You guys rock!

Friday, October 14

So Lynn resurrected the blog. YAY!!! LOL. I wasn't too sure I would have much too say but I just had one of the moments of utter inspiration. Okay that was awkward-- (utter, I never use that word). But I posted on my Facebook status today about my experience in meeting a prospective scholar. I said "Today I met someone who just touched my soul and inspired me to continue to keep pressing forward in my journey. Just to the see the resilience in young African American women is inspiring and it motivates me to find a path that I can touch and inspire the lives of young women who seek to better themselves even through their struggles. When someones touches my heart it's for real and I it brought me back to where I need to be. #XOXO"

Meeting this prospective student and hearing her story really touched my heart. And sure you hear people's story but something about this girl just made me want to connect with her and talk to her and learn from her story. Okay when I say she touched my soul I never say stuff like that, and then I gave her a huge hug (definitely not me), but today she changed my life. I just felt something so genuine about her and I like to say that I am good judge of character (lol).

Lately I have become so desensitized to the world around me that I forgot that people have struggles that are beyond their control and when they beat the odds that is truly significant. Recently I have decided to pursue African American and/or Women's Studies. My research interests revolve around African American women's experiences. I have been struggling to write my personal statement because I really couldn't articulate why I wanted to study African American women through either program. But now I know why...I am captivated by the resiliency of African American women; we share stories that unite us; but our differences are also inspiring. I know that I want to study the lives of Black women because we have a story that needs to be told and it starts with the girl I met casually in the library she has a story, and it's my mother's story, my female relatives--it's their story, it's the story of women like Harriet Tubman, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, and yes Beyonce. It's the story of struggle, passion, resilience, and success and it's the story of me.

So I thank this girl because little does she know she brought me back to feeling the love for humankind (as hippish as that sounds). She ignited a flame in me and I will always be grateful.

P.S. Lynn, I have to tell you her name because I really hopes she joins our McNair family. LOL

Thursday, October 13

Resurrecting Our Blog!

My bad for not posting on our blog since July and the big “take the GRE” day! Can’t believe it already mid-October and that we have scholars presenting and traveling to conferences and visiting graduate schools. It’s always exciting to see our scholars “putting into action” all of the work they completed during the Summer Research Institute and bringing their visions to reality. During this busy time of year, I thought the following post from the Winner’s Circle would be a good piece to get the ball rolling again on the blog. I encourage you to post (especially those of you presenting and applying!) to share your experiences and to past along those “nuggets of wisdom” that you are, for sure, accumulating. Cheers to a great fall season!


Winner's Circle Network with Lou Tice - "Solitude"
When was the last time you really spent quality time . . . with yourself? A word you don't hear much these days is "solitude." Maybe that is because it isn't experienced much. You know, if you put prisoners in solitary confinement, they go a little crazy, or they use the time to grow. Most of them go a little crazy because we're just not used to being alone. Humans are social beings. Too much solitude feels like punishment, but some is essential if we are really going to grow.

Others surround us at work, at home and just about everywhere else, but it is solitude we need for really deep thinking. I am convinced that one reason carpooling hasn't worked very well is because solitary driving time is precious to so many of us. I am also convinced that many busy people, who can afford it, hire others to drive them around because their time alone in the car is rare and invaluable, especially if you have to negotiate traffic.

A therapist friend of mine believes that one reason people make so much headway in therapy is because it provides built-in time and structure to focus attention inward. And a little solitude time is not being selfish; it can be a time of great renewal.

So if you want to really move ahead, take time every so often to be alone. Build it into your schedule to make sure it happens. Use it to think about where you are and where you want to go, and to problem solve, reflect, and re-connect with your heart's desires and challenges.

Lou Tice, The Pacific Institute, Inc.