day sixteen-thoughts on education (why I want my PhD)

Having obtained my bachelors in English as an undergraduate and my masters in Counseling as a graduate student, I would now like to concentrate on a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership.

I am especially interested in community college leadership, having been involved in leadership during all stages of my academic career.  I was a strong student both in my undergraduate and graduate program and was able to audit graduate courses in my undergraduate years in creative writing which I used as a mode of self-expression.  During my graduate years, I served on several committees and was president of Chi Sigma—the Greek honorary club along with serving as an advisor to the fraternity and sorority executive councils at the University of Wyoming.

I bring my unique understanding of groups historically under-represented in higher education as a formerly incarcerated female drug offender, and participant in Albany County Court Supervised Treatment Program.  Those with criminal backgrounds have often been excluded from higher education settings, if through nothing else other than financial aid which is jeopardized by drug related crimes.

I am fully committed to highlighting the experience of marginalized groups in higher education and am committed to creating diversity in higher education institutions which include open lines of access for all students in the spirit of community college.

My main professional and personal goals are the same—to advocate for individuals to empower her or himself to discover his or her own wealth of resilience and knowledge and to leverage these same traits for social currency and reform.  I obtained my masters in Counseling because I wanted to help people and soon thereafter realized that people don’t need my help but they need my advocacy and the enriching experience of education to realize their own worth and potential.

My brother became incarcerated when I was ten and since that time of fragmentation for my family I have been interested in leadership and social justice as it relates to incarcerated individuals.  Then, becoming incarcerated myself, I firmly believe that my access to higher education is what continues to give my life purpose and is what has kept me out of jails and prison since.

I know that this work is my life’s calling.  I have consistently advocated for underrepresented and marginalized groups and I still see higher education as the great equalizer helping to integrate formerly incarcerated individuals into our larger community.  I believe I will be most successful in creating access to higher education having obtained my own PhD and provide a living example of the transformative nature of education.  In addition, I can influence social currency and power that comes along with a PhD to develop and implement programs that will make access to higher education much more equitable.

With a doctoral degree, I will have both professional and academic knowledge that will enable and permit me to help create and pioneer programs in the state of Wyoming and the greater United States.  These programs will help to reform social policy, create stable funding sources, gather stories and narratives, promote collaboration and dynamic interaction between higher education and correction institutions and open up the national dialogue on access to education and help to change ideology surrounding criminal justice and education.

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