Real Experiences for BHM 2016: Black Professors Are Important For Success

Yesterday, I talked about teachers, primarily in terms of grade school, but Black professors on the college level are important too. So, today I want to talk about 2 of my friends that are professors: Dr. Christan Grant and Dr. Walt Lee. I met Christan when I first started my own degree and he was finishing up his at the University of Florida. At the time we were the only Black people in the CISE PhD program (I only met 1 other Black person in the graduate department and no professors). The time I spent in that program was probably the most influential on my current view of race and culture, because most of the time I was the only black person, the only female, *and* the only American in the class... But Christan kept me sane and was way more helpful than my advisor. Even after I graduated from UF and moved on to complete my degree Christan will check in and always has the best advice. Christan who was the first Black person to earn a PhD from the CISE department in the past 20-30 years (not sure of the exact number) [EDIT: apparently there are some other Black graduates on record that we never saw/met] is now a professor at the University of Oklahoma. I met Walt in undergrad at Clemson; we started the PhD journey at the same time. Walt is/was my venting buddy. Now he is a professor in the engineering department at Virginia Tech and researches diversity and student support/retention in STEM. Thanks to people like them, people coming into school will be less likely to experience alienation at the college level. The more Black professors the more inspired the youth, the more our perspective is incorporated on the college level, the more Black graduate students, and the more support for our community. #MakeItCount #BlackHistoryMonth2016 #BlackProfessors #CallMeDr
Photocredit: Tuyambaze

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