‘The Great Eight’: Black Female Doctoral Candidates Unite, Support, And Thrive

The women hope to encourage other women of color on the path to their dreams.

The Great Eight

The path to a graduate degree is a rigorous one, leading many to wonder whether or not it’s worth it to commit to the work required for a doctoral degree. For Nadrea Njoku, Jasmine Haywood, Johari Shuck, Tiffany Kyser, Demetrees Hutchins, Jada Phelps-Moultrie, Juhanna Rogers and Shannon McCullough, the difficulty of pursuing a doctoral degree was compounded when they realized how few women of color had paved the way for them at the Indiana University School of Education.

In each other these women were able to find strength. Throughout their respective doctoral degree journeys. they banded together to offer support and encouragement, pushing one another to keep going, despite the difficulties. As a result, this group of women will be remembered fondly; this is the first time so many black women will have completed the doctoral program at once.

Anxiety levels can run high, being one of the few familiar faces in any situation. This made the support system developed amongst these women particularly poignant. The eight womenn will graduate this May and subsequently defend their dissertations in June. Aside from their own personal goals, all of the women hope to inspire other women of color, and encourage school leaders to make the program more inclusive. Demetrees Hutchins had this to say about the legacy of ‘the great eight’: “If we get more images of showing us in these positive lights, then we can truly say this is nothing special because it happens all the time. So until we get to that point we’ll be the great eight and we’ll shine that light on it.”

See the Fox59 video interview here.

Photo source.




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