I chose this field of study and program because of the social justice component with the College of Education and Human Services and the interdisciplinary freedom of a program that allows me to focus on the science of family impact on educational outcomes of minority populations.
As a doctoral student at Montclair State University, I have participated in two research projects. The first was with Dr. Robert Reid’s research laboratory for the Paterson Coalition against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) and Project C.O.P.E. (Community Organizing Prevention & Empowerment) in partnership with Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology (PCSST). This project was led by Dr. Ijeoma Opara, who was a research fellow in Dr. Reid’s lab, and was comprised of a photo voice contest in which we assisted high school students as they created drug prevention and HIV/AIDS awareness videos based on experiences in their communities. We also conducted qualitative interviews with students about their experiences with the project. The project concluded with a peer mentoring initiative for senior students.
I have also worked with Dr. Pearl Stewart to examine the experiences of first-generation college students. For this project, Dr. Stewart and I conducted more than 15 qualitative interviews with first-generation Black male college students. I have had the opportunity to present on this research at the Black Doctoral Network Conference in October 2018, and Dr. Stewart and I will be presenting the findings of our research at the National Council for Family Relations (NCFR) Conference in November 2019. Dr. Stewart and I are also working on a manuscript titled Unacknowledged Influences of First-Generation Low-Income African American Male College Students.