Session: Black Women Achieving PhDs (BAPs) (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

227 Black Women Achieving PhDs (BAPs)

Saturday, January 18, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Monument, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education (RSWE)
Sandra Jeter, MSW, University of Houston, Ashley Turnbull, M.Ed, Howard University, Kimberly Lawrence, MA, Virginia State University and Chinyere Eigege, MA, MSW, University of Houston
Black women are underrepresented in doctoral programs and represent only 10% of the number of PhDs conferred in an academic year. Despite low completion rates, there is still a dearth of literature that explores protective factors and resiliency that promotes completion of PhD programs among Black women. This is particularly a disservice to the Social Work and Social Sciences fields, since Black women in these fields have been instrumental in starting the conversations about the marginalization and underrepresentation of people of color in research and academia. Scholars in the Social Work and Social Sciences fields have examined factors that put Black women more at risk of incompletion of PhD programs. These factors include financial hardships, racist ideologies, sexism, lack of diversity, psychosocial issues, and isolation. Although there is an abundance of research addressing these challenges for Black women in doctoral programs, there is a need for more literature to address the factors that promote successful completion of doctoral education for Black women, and in the words and through the lenses of Black women. A more nuanced understanding of the unique needs of Black women in doctoral programs is essential to creating and implementing thoughtful and meaningful approaches to supporting their successful completion. This interprofessional roundtable will allow thoughtful dialogue and will highlight the voices and understandings of Black women in various PhD programs, while focusing on the individual and systemic factors that can promote completion. One presenter will focus on psychosocial factors related to graduate student wellness (i.e. mental health during graduate school, staying healthy, productivity) as well as methods and activities that can promote both professional and personal growth and development within this population. Another presenter will focus on the ways intersecting identities hinder this population from financial liberation in society as a whole, and how this is perpetuated in academia, and ways to access financial assistance. A third presenter will focus on the unique experience that Black women in PhD programs face when attempting to overcome a form of the “superwoman” complex (struggling to juggle families, full time professional careers, and school, with little to no support from their programs in their non-academic endeavors). A final presenter will discuss the importance of creating spaces for Black women in doctoral programs that can be used to facilitate sisterhood, support, and growth through connecting over research and shared experiences. There are three goals for this roundtable: 1) to encourage collaborative discussion about shared experiences among Black female PhD students, 2) To provide Black women PhD students with the tools to advocate for their needs, and 3) to provide ways that PhD program directors, administrators, and mentors can engage and support Black women PhD students, that may increase retention and levels of inclusiveness.

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