25+ PROMISE students/affiliates attend SREB’s Conference in Atlanta

We are pleased to announce that more than 25 of our PROMISE students and affiliates will be attending the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Compact for Faculty Diversity/Institute on Teaching and Mentoring: http://www.instituteonteachingandmentoring.org/Institute/index.html in Atlanta, GA, October 20-23, 2011. The SREB participants will be discussing some thoughts related to their experiences and plans in this thread.

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull; https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull

70 thoughts on “25+ PROMISE students/affiliates attend SREB’s Conference in Atlanta

  1. Greetings! My name is Shauna Pollard. I am a PhD candidate in the Human Services Psychology program at UMBC, Clinical/Community tracks. I am considering a teaching faculty position in a medical school because I am passionate about teaching others about impact of biological, psychological, social and community level influences on health and wellness, particularly in an applied setting.

    It has been wonderful to participate in past PROMISE activities, such as the PROF-IT seminars and the PROMISE Summer Success Institutes to gain exposure to students who have successfully entered the professoriate. I look forward to learning skills that will increase my ability to succeed in the professoriate and to impact students in a meaningful way through teaching.


  2. There are numerous reasons why I would like to become a professor. The most apparent reason is that I would like to inspire my students to achieve success, similar to how a number of teachers/professors did during my high school, undergraduate, and now graduate education. I would like to awaken a hunger for knowledge so that my students will enjoy researching and learning about new concepts and topics.

    This is the first PROMISE event I’ve ever participated/attended. However, I do look forward to networking and learning skills that will enable me to impact students successfully. During my collegiate career, I have attended and participated in a multitude of activities that facilitated my interest in becoming a professor. No other experience was more invigorating then the Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) Conference by the National Urban League (NUL), where I was able to surround myself with motivated individuals like myself. This conference was where my fondness and desire to pursue the teaching profession originated. Since then, I have had a strong desire to develop my leadership skills and pursue a career in education.


  3. My name is Marisa Franco and I am a first year student in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at The University of Maryland. With my future degree, I plan to pursue academia and become a professor. I want to be a professor so that I can introduce students to their passions, thereby nurturing the next generation of scholars in psychology. To do this, I will harness my flair for public speaking and my ability to approach topics in innovative ways. Through being a professor, I endeavor to help students realize the beauty and privilege of learning.

    My teaching training is comprised of an extensive teacher’s assistant orientation, along with a lecture on public speaking. I anticipate that the Institute On Teaching and Mentoring will be an indispensable tool for enhancing my teaching skills.


  4. Hello Everyone! I am Crystal Romeo, a first-year doctoral student in the MEES Program at UMCP studying Environmental Science.

    Professorship is the merging of research and instruction, which is the reason why I chose to seek a career in academia. The excitement of discovering new information through research along with ability to educate and guide future leaders are just some of rewards of the field that satiate my intrinsic needs. In retrospect, the encouragement and guidance from my past professors are a part of the reason why I have been able to experience many opportunities thus far; therefore, I would like to pass on the positive reinforcement I have received. My desire to be a professor is constantly bolstered by the other activities that AGEP hosts such as the Summer Success Institute. During the SSI this past summer, I was able to spend time with colleagues who recently completed their terminal degrees. The time spent with new and old graduates during SSI, allowed me to see first-hand the rewards of being a professor. I have also had the opportunity to gain necessary skills for navigating through the PhD process by participation in some of the PhD Completion Project seminars. I look forward to experiencing all of the skill build activities that PROMISE has to offer in the future as I matriculate on toward achieving a terminal degree.


  5. A professor is one who creates, inspires, and challenges those who he/she guides. Serving as a professor or any type of teacher provides an opportunity to mentor the minds of people of many ages and backgrounds. The reward for this leader is to see an individual blossom into a successful person who inspires others in an even better way than he/she was inspired.

    While I have attended a couple of PROMISE events (2010 and 2011 open meetings), I am reminded that this organization is one of several great pillars at UMBC which is designed to promote the success of students.


  6. Hello my name is Jatia Wrighten. I am a third year doctoral student in the Government and Politics Department at the University of Maryland College Park. After I graduated from my undergrad institution I taught Special Education in English at the high school level for two years, and I taught GED for a year. After experiencing many of the disparities in education that affect minorities through my own students, I was motivated to seek answers at the doctoral level. I have always been an educator. But my need to become a professor became solidified after I had children. I believe that education in many ways acts as an equalizer. It is not a silver bullet but it is the best place to start. My research combines this theory with the political consequences of the achievement gap by specifically looking at education policy in order to understand why so many minority students get left behind at the primary and secondary level. In turn, this lack of education achievement affects many political aspects of their lives. I teach because I know that it makes a difference and it matters. Action does make a difference but so do words.

    I attended the 2009 Summer Success Institute sponsored by Promise which was very inspiring and eye opening.


  7. Hello, my name is Georgette Washington and I am a student at Morgan State University, pursuing an EdD in Urban Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Educational Planning. Currently I teach Career Development and Special Education classes in the Howard County Public School System. Becoming a professor is one more way that I can pay forward and invest in the lives of students the way previous educators invested in me. Additionally, I believe student learning is most successful when the classroom atmosphere, whether in a building or online, is welcoming, supports inquiry, provides real-world experiences for the students to apply existing knowledge, and opportunities for students to expand their knowledge base. As much as possible I want students to be allowed to partner with the professor and each other so they can take ownership of their learning experiences. Which means a successful professor is engaging to their students. They know their content area thoroughly, are able to convey that content clearly, and are able to see the growth in their students in both academics and character development. This is how I envision myself as a college professor.

    In preparation for this goal I attended this year’s PROMISE Summer Success Institute (SSI) and The Dissertation House (DH) session conducted at SSI. The information conveyed at SSI has put me on the path of actively positioning myself to pursue a career in the professorate. I look forward to the 2011 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring and believe that the experience of attending, the information shared, and the networking opportunities offered will solidify my foundation for becoming a professor.


  8. Hello, my name is Kenisha Ford and I am a first year PhD student at Howard University in Physics. As a lover of science I am interested in becoming a professor so that I can help foster that love in others; and if not love at least an appreciation and a comfortable level of proficiency. I also have a desire to mentor students and encourage more minorities and women to enter the STEM fields and pursue graduate degrees. Being a minority in your field can sometimes be a difficult road to travel when you don’t see many people (if any) that look like you. I want to help change that and be an example for someone else because goals seem more attainable when you see others who look like you.

    I attended this year’s PROMISE Summer Success Institute (SSI) which was very inspiring and I’m definitely look forward to future events. I enjoyed the information received and networking opportunity.


  9. Hello, I am Krista St. Louis, a graduate student in the Human Services Psychology program – Community and Applied Social Psychology track. I am particularly interested in the psychosocial aspects of sickle cell disease, and how that impacts functioning and health outcomes. Academia would offer me the opportunity to help influence future generations of scholars through teaching, and to conduct research that would influence a population that is dear to me.

    Although I have not attended any PROMISE events prior to this one, I look forward to future participation, and opportunities to continue to grow and develop.


  10. Hello All! My name is Jodian Brown and I am a Biochemistry PhD student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

    I love science and enjoy helping others to understand it, whether it is to make a grade in a class or providing feedback or suggestions for research projects. Consequently, I desire to enter into a faculty position at institutions that provides both teaching and research opportunities. To get to such a point in my career, I know that there are a lot of skills that need to be cultivated and opportunities like the SREB Teaching and Mentoring Institute will provide an environment for growth in the much needed areas.

    In addition, PROMISE events such as Dissertation House has been helpful in my progression through candidacy and in meeting other PhD students who are at the dissertation writing stage who have been able to share helpful advice. In addition, this opportunity allowed interaction with Drs Tull and Carter who have shared their experiences in the academic environments, which has provided a source of encouragement and tools to progress to graduation and the desired career. There has also been other PROMISE events that allowed for a panel discussion with PhD graduates who were able to share the experiences and path into academia, which has also provided vital insights.


  11. Hello! My name is Latasha Eley, and I am a first year Doctoral student in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As is evident by its name, mine is not a STEM program, however, I am so grateful that PROMISE provides a support system for all graduate students. I have been a student at UMBC for exactly a month today, and already have reaped so many benefits from PROMISE.

    My first PROMISE event was the Summer Success Institute (SSI). The SSI encompassed two days of motivational and thought-provoking speakers, team building activities, networking, and so much more. It was just what I needed to start the semester off right. Information provided, such as what the Impostor Syndrome is and the effects of Stereotype Threat, gave me a name and concepts to associate with some of the apprehension and anxiety I was having regarding beginning a Ph.D. program, as well as some methods with which to cope with those feelings. I also attended the PROMISE Opening Meeting. There I met even more aspiring graduate students from a variety of fields and backgrounds. I was able to bring my boyfriend to this event, and even he was inspired and is now planning to apply to graduate school.

    I desire to become a professor because I want to have and be a positive impact in the lives of students and their development throughout college. What better way to accomplish this than via the professoriate? My research to date has revolved around issues of educational inequality, specifically the experiences and effects of being a 1st generation African American college student attending a predominantly white institution, as well as other challenges faced by underrepresented students. I am also interested in hair and body politics and their manifestations and influence in the lives of African American men and women, especially throughout the various stages of college student development. I believe that, along with the research and publications I will produce to hopefully provide insight and guidance on these issues to those in academia who are otherwise unaware, my direct contact and engagement with such students in the classroom will make an even greater difference in their college experience and academic, personal, and professional advancement.


  12. Hello, My Name is Marvin D. Carr and I am a 2nd year System Engineering student at UMBC. “Knowledge is a Terrible Things to Waste.” However cliché the motto of the United Negro College Fund may be, this is the time in my community when a serious conversation of the wasting of human capital must be discussed. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching or pointing fingers as our young, gifted, and talented members of my community waste their knowledge, Id like to nurture it. Nurture it like I have been nurtured for the past 5 years and better than I have been nurtured and prepared for the STEM field. I know that becoming a professor will be a staging area to put me on a platform to do more and have an even greater impact on young black and brown men excelling in the STEM fields.
    Since I’ve been a student at UMBC I have taken part in about 80-90% of the PROMISE events that I have been offered. OF these, the ProfIT program have been the most rewarding, not only do they give you knowledge on how to be great lecturer and professor, they also give you insight on how to interact with those same people while you are still in school. This may be an unintended benefit to student, but it’s like corporate espionage (maybe not that bad)


  13. My name is Michelle Beadle-Holder and I am a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. My current dissertation topic is an analysis of the approaches of Black organizations and community mobilization to combat HIV/AIDS. Three factors underlie my motivation to enter the professoriate. First, my early experience conducting social scientific research in college and various non-profit organizations. Second, my undergraduate mentors’ numerous encouragements convinced me to consider the professorship. Two undergraduate professors, in particular, saw how excited I got when I talked about my research interests around issues related to race, religion, sexuality, and health. Finally, my experience as a teaching assistant and lecturer has incited a passion in me that I did not know I had. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and learning from students in a University setting.

    Over the course of my studies at the University of Maryland, I have had many exciting opportunities to develop and grow as a scholar. PROMISE has played an essential role in this development. For example, the Dissertation House has helped me to create structure in the unstructured period of the dissertation writing process. I have also learned useful tips about proposal writing which I know will be important to my future career. PROMISE offers a workshop called “When Professor Says X They Mean Y.” The presenters of this workshop are professors who share valuable information about communicating and working with an advisor. This information has taken away much of the frustration that has come from not understanding my advisor’s expectations. In addition, the Summer Success Institute (SSI) has exposed me to strategies that minority professors in different fields used to successfully enter and navigate the professoriate. The knowledge I obtained from the SSI has helped to take away some of the mystery of the hiring and tenure process.

    All of the PROMISE seminars and workshops I described above have provided me with useful information and skills to prepare for a career in academia. Each workshop and seminar has also allowed me the chance to build professional and social relationships with students and professors from various academic fields and interests. In addition to purely academic activities, PROMISE offers the space to develop a community of support. For example, each year PROMISE scholars on the different University of Maryland campuses get together to celebrate the building of this community through the Fall Harvest Dinner. This is one of my favorite events, in large part because this is where I met my husband.


  14. I am Laurene Dampare, first year graduate student in the Biological Science program at UMBC. Over the course of my academic career, I have had amazing professors and mentors who have inspired and motivated me to be where I am to day. Having such an influence has caused me over the years to think of ways I can not only impart knowledge but also be relative in directing the future of the next generation.
    I was fortunate to attend my first PROMISE program this year at the SSI conference where I had an amazing time learning from alumni of the program telling their respective stories and proving that everything is possible. It was a great inspiration for me and a good way to start my new endeavor as a graduate student. I’m looking forward to this seminar to meet like minded individuals. Hopefully, some years ahead I will be the programs alumni inspiring others too.


  15. My name is Sophoria Westmoreland and I am a PhD Candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. My dissertation is on the cognitive aspects of the mechanical design process. Since I was in undergrad I have LOVED teaching and have since decided that as a professor I can make the most impact through my teaching. I have also become fond of doing exciting research in my field. While I was in undergrad in STEM I did not encounter 1 black female professor and this was really disturbing so I set out to change that. I have been fortunate enough to be connected with the PROMISE program to help mold me into the professor that I will become. They have given me so many opportunities for growth and professional development. PROMISE activities that I have participated in over my years at UMD are: (1) The Dissertation House (3 times) (2) PhD Completion Workshops (3) The SREB Institute on Teaching and Mentoring (4) Peer Mentoring Program as a Protege’ and as a Mentor (5) Summer Success Institute and many many more. Every PROMISE event that I have attended has encouraged me to keep the path, that is not well travelled, and PROMISE of the light at the end of the road.


  16. My name is Jamiel Dawson and I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Cybersecurity at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. This is my first semester in this program and I’m looking forward to all the exciting events, challenges, and all the positive things to come as a returning student to UMBC in this new program.

    This will officially be my first Promise related activity and one that I am very excited about. I think Mrs. Tull does a phenomenal job of getting the graduate students involved in a lot of activities and programs, and this one is another to confirm that. It will give students such as myself and others on this thread the opportunity to indulge in a hidden or always known passion that has gotten us to the points that we are at in our professional and education careers…teaching! Someone has to step up with their talents and share their mastery of their given skillset with others aspiring to be in their field and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do so.

    Cheers to you all and I look forward to seeing and meeting you in Hotlanta… I meant Atlanta 😉


  17. My name is Holly Porter and I am a PhD Candidate in the Molecular Medicine Program at University of Maryland Baltimore. Over the years I have been involved with tutoring students at different educational levels in various subjects and I loved it. I realize that I had a way of not only relating to my students, but also explaining things to them in a way that they actually understood. I felt very pleased watching my students go from receiving very low grades to receiving very high grades. I know that every student has what it takes to reach his/her goals and that encouragement goes a long way in increasing a students’ confidence. I have had both encouraging and discouraging professors and I recognize the impact that they all have had on me. All of this is what motivates me to teach either at a community college or a 4-year teaching-focused college.

    Promise has facilitated my interest in becoming a professor in many ways. In general the Summer Success Institute has had great speakers who have worked very hard for their achievements. In particular I really enjoyed the SSI when there was a panel of professors who taught at the various kinds of institutions. I thought it was great to highlight some of the smaller universities and community colleges. The panelist gave great advice. I have attended one of the Prof-it seminars where we focused on designing a course. It was useful to learn some of the many teaching styles. PROMISE in general places a huge focus on mentoring which is one of my passions. I have had great mentors to help me navigate life and I intend to be the kind of professor who is also a mentor to my students.

    Last year was my first year attending SREB and I had a great experience. In just a few days SREB influenced me in many ways. The seminars were applicable. The networking was a great way to brush up on my communication skills. I am looking forward to returning to SREB.



    Hi everyone,

    My name is Mariela Garcia-Colberg and I am a PhD Candidate in Urban and Regional Planning and Design. The reason why I decided (and I am looking forward to finishing) my PhD is the fact that I want to be a college professor. My love for teaching is hugely based on my experiences as a student. The professors that influenced me, and that took an interest in getting to know me both in and outside the classroom, truly changed my life. I want to do the same for other students. I also strongly feel that we need more minority professors, so that students have role models. I also love teaching because the teacher has to be life long student itself… and I love learning.

    Promise, and all the activities they run, have help me in those moments when I am doubting myself. I have attended Dissertation House, the Summer Success Institute and Multiple PhD Completion Project Workshops. I have made amazing friends and wonderful connections.

    I am looking forward to meeting you all in Atlanta!


  19. Hello Everyone,
    My name is Angel Miles and I am a PhD student in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. I decided that I wanted to pursue my PhD to become a professor for several reasons. After graduating from college, I still hungered for more knowledge about the world and why so much of it is organized across race, class, gender, and other dimensions of difference. It is my hope that by learning about social inequality, I can make a difference by teaching others and contributing to research that can help lead to a more just and equitable society. In addition, as an African American woman with a physical disability, I realized during the early stages of my graduate career, that there were very few people with disabilities who complete college, and even less who are also women of color. It is my hope that I can serve as an example and mentor to other minorities and help to open the door for future generations. I think that being a professor is one of the best ways to accomplish those goals.
    The Promise program has served as an excellent educational resource and academic support system for me throughout my graduate experience. Through programs such as the Summer Success Institute, the Promise Retreats, Dissertation House, and too many others to name, I am receiving comprehensive training that provides me with a competitive edge that not many others graduate students have access to. Because of the Promise Program, I am confident that I will defend my dissertation successfully and enter the job market prepared for a stellar career in academia.


  20. My name is Nicole Long, and I am a doctoral candidate in the College Student Personnel Administration program at the University of Maryland. I have taken an interesting path to get to where I am now with purusing a PhD. I received my bachelors degree in mathematics. I also loved math and quantiative activities. By pursuing my PhD, I have been able to return to my interest in quantiative forms of inquiry by also obtaining a graduate certificate in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation.

    Teaching and learning have been a passion of mine. For example, my dissertation research is on the effects of faculty and student affairs professional staff roles on undergraduate student learning in living-learning programs. Additionally, I’ve always known that I wanted to teach and have done so in formal and informal settings. Since I am interested in pursuing a full-time or adjunct faculty position upon graduation, I took advantage of teaching opportunities in my graduate program. During the spring 2010 and 2011 semesters I taught a course on individual and organizational assessment within the College Student Personnel master’s degree program. Teaching for me is a reciprocal process, and my teaching experiences in the graduate program at the University of Maryland confirmed that for me.

    Participation in the PROMISE program has been instrumental in my desire to pursue a faculty career. Through this program, I have been able to network with other underrepresented doctoral students who are pursuing the same career as I am. In particular, the PhD Completion Workshops have proven to be beneficial for me. Some of the most beneficial topics included CV writing, job interviewing, creating arguments, and the dissertation proposal. Through these common experiences, I have been afforded that opportunity to continue to acquire the necessary skills and experience to pursue a faculty career.


  21. Hello everyone,

    My name is Robin Brewer and I am a PhD student in Human-Centered Computing at UMBC. I am currently teaching IS303, an undergraduate course entitled ‘Fundamentals of Human-Centered Computing”. As of now, I am unsure if I will pursue a career in academia or not. I am hoping to have a better idea after this semester of teaching and the subsequent years in graduate school. However, I will attest to the fact that one of my dozens of possible career choices when I was younger was to be a teacher. But only time will tell. I look forward to more PROMISE events such as this where I get to network with other students.


    1. Hello again,

      Now that I’ve returned from this conference, I am very glad that I decided to go! At first I was a little hesitant because I thought it would semi-forcefully try to make us pursue careers in academia. However being that many of the workshops applied directly to my current level of graduate school, I found it very helpful in motivating me to continue my PhD education. The fact that I met students and faculty from around the country, itself, inspired me to more strongly consider pursuing the professoriate. Hopefully I can return to this conference for the next few years and by the 3rd year have more of an idea who to talk to at the recruiting and networking fair. Judging by this year’s conference I enjoyed speaking with Clemson University and those at the University of California system. I look forward to future PROMISE events and also recruiting with PROMISE and UMBC at the National Society of Black Engineers Fall Regional Conference in November.


  22. Hi Everyone,

    My name is Kim Holmes, and I am a third year PhD student in Higher Education Administration at the University of Maryland, College Park. I hope to become a professor so that I can have opportunities to research issues that are important to me and engage other students and practitioners in research, dialogues, and data-driven practice. My research interests are centered on creating inclusive learning environments in higher education, particularly in STEM fields. I hope that my work will ultimately have a positive influence on teaching practices and policies at the college level.

    I have participated in a number of PROMISE events since I began my graduate studies at Maryland. Each program has helped motivate me to continue to work at my own academic and professional goals, but has also enabled me to connect with program staff peers who have similar interests. My first PROMISE event was a Summer Success Institute at UMBC. This program really set the tone for my graduate study, as I participated in workshops that helped me figure out what I needed to do early on to excel in my courses and what resources were available to me. There I also met Dr. Tull, Dr. Parham and a host of other students, who have all been supportive of me along the way. I distinctly remember watching other PROMISE students recognized for accomplishments like passing comprehensive/qualifying exams, defending proposals, and earning their PhDs. This helped me to envision myself in a similar position in a few years!

    I have also attended a number of Ph.D. completion workshops and social events such as the Fall Harvest dinners, spring cookouts, and networking receptions for students of color on College Park’s campus. Attending the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring has been my most memorable PROMISE activity. The workshops provided invaluable information about succeeding at all phases of doctoral study and in the first few years of a career in academia. Having the opportunity to meet other doctoral students from all around the country also helped me to expand my network of supportive people in this process. I have kept in touch with several scholars from the Institute, and we celebrate one anothers’ accomplishments, offer advice or resources when challenges arise, and look forward to reuniting at the next Institute!


  23. Hello. My name is Nur Shahir and I am a first year graduate student in Statistics at UMBC. One of the most influentially forces in my life, beyond my family, has been professors and researchers who have mentored me over the course of my career. I have found that invaluable and the only way I feel to effectively show my thanks is to mentor and guide future researchers myself. This is one of the reasons why I want to be a professor.
    I’ve attended the PROMISE SSI this past August, as well as the Work Life Balance seminar, the TA seminar, and the NSF seminar as well. I’m looking forward to attending more events in the future as my schedule allows.


  24. Hello. My name is Damian Waters and I am a doctoral candidate in the Family Science department at the University of Maryland College Park. As a researchers, I am interested in studying African American, low-income, and young fathers, particularly in relation to how they engage in caring for the health needs of their children. My desire to going the professoriate stem from the opportunities academia provides to explore these interests and expand our understandings of fathers– a critically understudied group. The professoriate also offers the important opportunity to shape future generations of researchers, policymakers, and voters.

    In addition to attending a PROMISE retreat early in my career at the University of Maryland, I have attended the Black Graduate Conference in Psychology in 2010 and 2011. These experiences have helped me develop an understanding of life as a professor and learn skills to meet the demands of academia.


  25. Hello! My name is Samuel Haile and I am a doctoral candidate in Biological Sciences at UMBC and the president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). I am in a tumor immunology lab and we focus on activating the immune system at the onset of cancer. My project specifically address overcoming a suppressive mechanism that cancer cells employ to prevent an immune response.

    Although I do not know what the future holds for me nor what I plan on doing after leaving UMBC, there are many memories that I will never forget. I have been the TA of two introductory biology course discussion sections for 2 semesters each and have gained a great appreciation for what it takes to successfully teach a course. Prior to TAing, I had no experience preparing a syllabus or designing quizzes and was honored to have been given that opportunity. Also, in the laboratory, I have now trained 3 undergraduates and 4 masters students to do cancer immunology work and have loved every minute of it! It is experiences such as these that make me feel as though I can enter the professoriate.

    Being that I have been in PROMISE for the past 4.5 years and a Peer Mentor for the last year, I have most likely attended every PROMISE event at least twice. I remember the TA training seminar being extremely helpful for me before I started TAing. I have also enjoyed the yearly retreat, Summer Success Institute, and When Faculty Say “X”, They Really Mean “Y” programs.


  26. Hi! My name is Samuel Cordero Puchales. I’m a graduate student in the Information System/Instructional Technology area. The reason why I want to become a professor is because I would like to share my knowledge and work experience with students in the areas of Information System/Instructional Technology and in the different community services that the college has to offer to students that would like to contribute to the community.

    As a member of PROMISE, UMBC Diversity Council, UMBC Relationship Violence Prevention Team, UMBC Golden Key International Honor Society and UMBC Graduate Student Senate Rep; I have attended different activities that have given me the opportunity to work in a diverse environment that have inspired me to become a professor.


  27. My name is Kimberly Reaves and I am a Graduate student at UMBC’s School of Engineering. Prior to enrolling at UMBC, a life-changing event impaired my learning capabilities and as a result, I lost confidence in my educational abilities. During this time, the capacity at which I absorbed and processed information was slower. Public speaking, presentations and even a normal day-to-day conversation presented a challenge for me. I’d become so embarrassed with my circumstances that I began to doubt the possibility of my ever becoming a professor. I did not think that I would ever muster up enough courage to speak before a group of students.

    After joining the Promise program, I began to view my life from a different perspective; things did not occur to be as impossible as they had in the past. Attending the Public speaking and networking seminars were even more therapeutic for me than the medical therapy. The strategies that were used in these sessions played a major role in my redeveloping the communication skills that I’d lost during my illness.
    Learning how to speak intelligently again was no easy task, but nothing was too difficult for the mentors at Promise. The mentors and teachers at Promise taught me that practice and hard work is the ultimate key to success. The tough love (Dr. Tull’s love) that I received in this program, has prepared me for what was to be expected outside of my comfort zones that I have at UMBC.

    I realized that Dr. Tull’s tough love and constant mentoring has kept me moving on the upward bound. It has also helped me realize that without a good teacher or mentor, I would not have come as far as I did in my discipline. So if asked what has facilitated my interest in becoming a teacher, I would say that I like to some day provide the same level of PROMISE, that the mentors at UMBC’s Promise program have provided for me. As a teacher, I will have the ability to touch a life and make a story that was once a nightmare, a fairy tale come true.


  28. Dear Dr. Tull:
    There are simply not enough words in the dictionary to fully convey the way I feel about the UMBC PROMISE program. The program has helped me grow in so many areas of my life while student of the university. I have so many positive things to say about the pogram, but for sake of space and brevity, I will speak only to those events I’ve personally attended in the past 3 years. Let me begin by introducing myself.

    My name is Melissa LaToya Browning. I am a graduate student in the Department of English Literature and Languages at the University of Maryland, College Park. My master’s degree will be conferred in December, 2011. Although currently not on campus, I am very much involved in the activities of PROMISE and AGEP. I will always work, to some extent, with TRIO programs in my future as a teacher, even if it means volunteering,

    I am currently teaching English Reading, Writing, and Research and Public Speaking at Bryant and Stratton College and an English Tutor for TRIO at Monroe Community College. Both institutions are located in Rochester, New York. I have a compassion for sharing knowledge with others, and teaching allows me to do utilize this gift.

    Because of my own love for knowledge and because I want to teach in a university at some point in my life, I am working on a PhD in Higher Education: Leadership and Social Policy with Walden’s Wiley School of Education online. Additionally, I have been accepted by The College at Brockport’s (SUNY) Graduate School in Education for certification as a 7-12 Special Education Teacher in New York State. I want God to use me in any capacity He sees fit, which is why I plan to become certified to teach in public school. I want to stress the importance of education to students of all ages, especially those struggling to complete high school with hopes of entering college one day.

    I me Dr. Tull during a PROMISE Summer Success Institute (SSI) seminar in summer 2008, just prior to entering my first semester at UMD. I attended the seminar, not knowing what to expect, but can honestly say that both Dr. Tull and the programs she has allowed me to be a part of have been very instrumental in my educational journey toward the PhD.

    I have attended two SSI’s with PROMISE; one in 2008 as stated above, and the other in 2009. I learned valuable leadership skills both times. I also attended the PROMISE Fall Harvest Banquet at UMD in November 2008. It was phenomenal. Additionally, it was an honor for me to be accepted for attendance at the Rocky Gap Retreats sponsored by PROMISE in spring 2009 and spring 2010 in Cumberland, Maryland. Participating in team building exercises both in and outdoors during these retreats taught me survival skills that I continue to use today, both in and out of the graduate school environment.

    Dr. Tull is a tough, but fair leader. I appreciate all the time and hard work she invests above and beyond the call of duty to help people like me become the persons she knows we are capable of being educationally. Success to me means being able to do some positive with your life and then reach back and pull someone else up out of their situations and help them realize their potential. This is what Dr. Tull does and has taught me to do.

    Thank you for yet another opportunity to network and support PROMISE.


  29. Travel Information from SREB:

    All events will take place at the Atlanta Hilton, (downtown) 255 Courtland Street, Atlanta, GA 30303.

    PLEASE VISIT http://home.sreb.org/dsp/institutionregistration/pertinentdocs.aspx


    Your ground transportation to and from the hotel will be handled by Presenting Atlanta. Transportation will be provided on two days: 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM on Thursday, October 20th and 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday October, 23rd IF YOUR TRAVEL IS OUTSIDE OF THESE CONFERENCE GUIDELINES, please make other transportation arrangements. THE ATLANTA HILTON DOES NOT HAVE A SHUTTLE TO THE AIRPORT. But can provide you a number to a cab service.


    Please meet your Presenting Atlanta Coordinator at the defined Meet and Greet area located at the midway point in the broad hallway connecting North and South baggage claims. Passengers arriving on A, B, C, D and E concourses will automatically arrive at the Meet and Greet area upon leaving the airport train at the last stop (baggage claim) and taking the long escalator to the top. The Presenting Atlanta Coordinator will be at the top of the escalator dressed in a black shirt with a Presenting Atlanta logo and black pants, holding a sign that reads “INSTITUTE ON TEACHING & MENTORING” . In the event you do not see a Presenting Atlanta Coordinator, please check the Driver Greet Area, located in front of both the North & South baggage claims.

    Passengers arriving on United Airlines or on the T Concourse will need to follow the signs to North and South baggage claim and go to the broad hallway connecting the two baggage claim areas. The airport concierge and a business traveler office are also located along the broad hallway.

    Passengers arriving on American Airlines will need to follow the signs to the American Airlines baggage claim. American Airlines is the only airline that has a dedicated baggage claim, which is separated from the main baggage claim area.

    If you are having difficulty locating the Presenting Atlanta Coordinator, please call

    404-925-2550 for immediate assistance. Please open the attached diagram of the Jackson Harftield Airport.


    Information provided by: Audra P. Jackson, M.B.A. Ph.D. Scholar – Adult Education, UGA Institute Coordinator SREB- State Doctoral Scholars Program (404) 879-5525 http://www.instituteonteachingandmentoring.org


  30. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, to Dr. Tull, PROMISE AGEP, The Compact, The Institute, and The National Science Foundation for allowing me to attend this wonderful conference. It was a mind expanding, life changing, experience for me. To be in the presence of so many people from so many places with the same positive mind-set was fantastic.

    The information conveyed by the presenters increased my knowledge base and enabled my to sharpen my focus and re-aline my vision. I now have a new target to shoot for upon completing my EdD in Urban Educational Leadership. The networking opportunities provided me with encouragement, direction, fellowship, and new ideas. I was also encouraged to visit various colleges and universities across the country for both possible employment and guest lecturing opportunities. I believe that I have truly made some very valuable connections during the conference.

    Not only was I encouraged to hang in there and do my best, but I was also given a chance to encourage others. Being a McNair Scholar Alum from Coppin State University, I was given the privilege of briefly speaking to the current McNair scholars in attendance at the conference.

    As I look forward to next year’s conference in Tampa, FL, it is my goal arrive as Dr. Georgette Washington. I have alot to do between now and then, but I know that I can get it done. Having attended the conference as an Affiliate of PROMISE AGEP, I couldn’t help but think of my fellow classmates at Morgan State University and other colleges and universities who were not there. I hope that in the future even more institutions will be able to become a part of the great work that is being done through the Compact and The Institute. if there is anything that I can do to help expand this program to other schools, I would be more than happy to help. Once again Thank You to everyone for allowing me to attend.


  31. Thanks so much for the opportunity to attend The Institute for Teaching and Mentoring in Atlanta this year. I was surprised by the number of new faces that I encountered from my own institution as well as UMCP. I was impressed with the session content and the networking opportunities. My motivation to push forward has been renewed and I have been able to receive mentoring from a PROMISE AGEP graduate!

    My lab research is focused on the evaluation of minority student achievement in STEM and conferences such as these remind me of the continued importance of my work. I realize the importance of mentoring to assist students in the professoriate and have begun to think about ways that I can influence the next generation through teaching and policy involvement.


  32. Hello everyone,
    First of all, congratulations and an abundance of gratitude is extended to the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring along with all the support organizations and individuals who played a part in making the 2011 conference in Atlanta a successful one! As a first year attendee, I was impressed with the level of professionalism, quality of seminars, and organization that was shown. Secondly, thank you Dr. Tull for serving as a liaison between the graduate students and various support organizations so that we may take part in such wonderful opportunities.
    The impact that the conference has had on me is four-fold: motivation/inspiration, enhancement of knowledge on the wonderful options that are available for minority graduate students, stronger appreciation for other disciplines, and the desire to share with others regarding the limitless possibilities available. I now know that a doctoral degree in the biological sciences extends beyond the bench and writing policies. Teaching is now an option that I, as many others, will strongly consider. My plan for a potential faculty position is contingent upon several factors. The recruiters from various schools were very supportive in providing options in support of my advancement and the possibility of a faculty position.
    The options provided have left me enlightened and inspired to spread the news to individuals at all levels from various backgrounds, albeit through STEM or any other support organization. My message to them: In today’s world in which there are so many support organizations to promote your advancement and growth, there is no excuse to be whoever you want to be. YOU are your only limitation.


  33. Let me begin by saying thank you to Dr. Tull, PROMISE AGEP, The Compact, The Institute, and The National Science Foundation for giving us all the wonderful opportunity to attend this event. Without the fear of over doing it, Ill be short in sweet. As a young student, I often find myself reading the often ridiculed W.E.D. Dubois.
    “It is the trained, living human soul, cultivated and strengthened by long study and thought, that breathes the real breath of life into boys and girls and makes them human, whether they be black or white, Greek, Russian or American.”
    Ever since I began reading “The Souls of Black Folk” in the 7th Grade, I have been intrigued by the teaching and thoughts of W.E.D. Dubois (particularly the above quite). I found myself in awe several times throughout the conference because for the 1st time, I felt as though I was in the presence of that talented 10th that Dubois so eloquently speaks of. I was humbled, and at times a bit intimidated ,by the vastness and depth of Knowledge in the room.
    This conference had a definite impact on my future as a scholar and on the “road to my professional life” . It, for now at least, has removed the fears and doubts that had been plaguing me while I thought about going into the professoriate. I am now more than ever; ready to prepare the way for the next generation of young scholars to continue the legacy of excellence. After speaking with several recruiters, I see myself at a small HBCU in 6 years teaching


  34. Hello, my name is Marisa Franco and I recently returned from the conference with the Institute of Teaching and Mentoring. I would like to thank Ms. Reneta Tull for providing me with the valuable and enriching opportunity to attend this conference. The conference helped prepare me for a successful graduate career and beyond, as I learned skills like honing my curriculum vitae, networking, and fellowship opportunities. The skills I gained at this conference have made me more confident in the prospect of pursuing the professoriate.

    While I am still in my fist year of graduate school, and it will be at least five years before I will be applying for jobs, I believe that this conference helped me form connections that will help me find a career in the professoriate in the future. This conference taught me how to prepare to secure a job in academia.

    As my contribution to the STEM field, I am helping undergraduates apply to graduate school. I act as a knowledgeable and comfortable resource for undergraduates interested in joining STEM. I am particularly interested in encouraging other ethnic minorities to pursue PhDs in the STEM fields, and in increasing representation, and awareness of minority perspectives, across disciplines.


  35. I am very appreciative of PROMISE, everyone involved with the institute, and all of the hard work that went into making this experience so wonderful. As a student returning to the institute for a 2nd year my experience this year was just as rewarding as my first year experience. It was great to meet so many other people. The institute has shown me why my interest in teaching and mentoring is so important and the importance of my impact on others. The session on Faculty Work at Different Institutional Types and the recruiting station visits were particularly helpful in determining my teaching and mentoring goals. I plan to graduate in 2012 and hope to begin teaching a few classes at either a community college or a small 4-year teaching-focused university. I am drawn to the mentoring component emphasized at these types of school.

    In the past I have been involved with tutoring students in the STEM fields and I have also mentored an undergraduate student and assisted her in completing a research project. I also peer mentor a graduate student through the PROMISE program. After I graduate while teaching I also plan to conduct bench science. Diversity in the STEM fields is something that we must continue to strive for and I plan to continue to do my part in reaching that goal.


  36. I would like to thank Dr. Tull for giving me the opportunity of attending the Institute for the 1st time ever. The conference was very influential in settling my mind regarding my future career plans as well as academic plans. It was also somewhat inspiring to see others in my prospective field that look like me that are also pursuing research in STEM. It gives me hope for collaborators in the future.
    Regarding my contribution to STEM enterprise, while I am only in my first year I plan on becoming a P.I. in the short term and eventually as my career progresses an academic Dean, so I’ll have the opportunity to implement policies to improve the numbers of minorities pursuing STEM and help retain students in STEM as well.


  37. a. The impact of the conference on your decision to pursue the professoriate.

    The conference was great. I was able to establish a strong network of students, faculty and staff members from other institutions. The success stories that students, staff and faculty members shared with me have inspired me in pursuing a career as a professoriate.
    Also, I think that the information that I got from some of the recruiters about different research opportunities have influenced my decision in becoming a professoriate.

    b. Your plans for applying for faculty positions (what kinds of institutions, in how many years, etc.)

    Right now, I‘m considering Purdue, Indiana University – Bloomington and NSF. They have a lot of great research programs in the areas of computer science. Of course, UMBC is my first choice ; ) I’m considering applying for a faculty research position next year.

    As part of my plans for applying for faculty position, I took the initiative of establishing a “career network” with some of the people that I met at the Conference. On 10/24, I sent an email to the people that gave me their business card and talk to them establishing a network in where we all can share different career programs that each of our institutions offers. For example, I have a faculty person from the University of South Florida that shared with me some of their programs. I think that is very important to establish a network because it will give you more career opportunities that you can select. We are using LinkedIn because most of us have an LinkedIn account, however we are looking into other tools such as Google plus or Facebook.

    c. Your contribution to the STEM enterprise. This part is particularly important
    for students who are not in STEM fields. There is probably some way that you have already contributed to the STEM enterprise (e.g., K-12 tutoring math, befriending and encouraging other STEM students, helping at a PROMISE AGEP event, telling other STEM students about grad school). If you haven’t yet made a contribution, please think about how you will do so in the future.

    As I mentioned previously, establishing a career network is the best way to contribute to the STEM enterprise because we can share career development opportunities with other STEM folks, collabore with other schools in special research projects; for example, I’m working with a co-worker/faculty member in GW and UMUC in a research project involving e-learning and mentor new grad students.


  38. I am so thankful that I was provided the opportunity to attend the SREB conference! I was able to network with a large number of graduate students as well as others that I have met from other conferences in past years. Hearing the many motivational speeches and networking with recruiters was inspiring and strengthened my interest in pursuing the professoriate.

    I am currently in the 5th year of the Ph.D. program and plan on applying from faculty positions after first completing my postdoc in 3-5 years from now.

    My contribution to the STEM field is that I have personally mentored 7 students thus far in the field of cancer immunology. This mentoring has been very satisfying for me. I plan to continue contributing to the STEM field by collaborating with other fields, creating more interdisciplinary studies.


  39. I had a wonderful experience at the Institute this year! I even met Dr. Kimberly Holmes (my namesake, with a Ph.D.) Many thanks to PROMISE, Dr. Tull, and SREB. My comments are below:

    a. The impact of the conference on your decision to pursue the professoriate.

    I already had some interest in pursuing a career in the professoriate, but the conference helped me to see steps I can take now as a graduate student to make myself a competitive candidate. The conference also helped me to see the range of institutions seeking diverse faculty members in a range of disciplines, and helped me develop a greater understanding of the expectations and requirements of applicants at these colleges and universities.

    b. Your plans for applying for faculty positions (what kinds of institutions, in how many years, etc.)

    I am currently focused on making progress with my dissertation, but within the next year or two I hope to begin applying for faculty positions in Educational Leadership or Higher Education programs. I am open to a number of institution types and locations.

    c. Your contribution to the STEM enterprise. This part is particularly important for students who are not in STEM fields. There is probably some way that you have already contributed to the STEM enterprise (e.g., K-12 tutoring math, befriending and encouraging other STEM students, helping at a PROMISE AGEP event, telling other STEM students about grad school). If you haven’t yet made a contribution, please think about how you will do so in the future.

    I think that friendships and partnerships between STEM and non-STEM students has mutual benefits. Personally, I have engaged in research intended to improve pedagogical practices and climate in STEM departments and classrooms. Although my work is based in the field of Education, it has direct implications for STEM students and faculty. I also think that exposure to students from a range of disciplines helps prevent any specific group from becoming stuck in a disciplinary silo. In other words, we exchange information about practices and policies in our respective departments, and we are able to get new ideas about ways to manage our own coursework, relationships with advisors, and resources available to us. Ultimately, we all have similar goals that are not discipline-specific, and we support one another in them, regardless of our specific areas of study.


  40. This was my first SREB Institute experience and it was the best conference experience I have ever had. Thank you for this opportunity. The networking opportunities were once in a lifetime and I am sure my career will benefit from this. The conference left me motivated and more knowledgeable about options available to me as a doctoral scholar. I was unaware of the different types of colleges available for teaching positions, the shared experiences of people like me in a doctoral program, and ways to make me more competitive and marketable when I am on the job market. I have always wanted to become a professor and that has not changed. If anything the conference made that even more clear that this is an appropriate career choice for me. The conference also made me realize things I can be doing as a graduate student in order to prepare for the application process and tenure track at a variety of universities. I did not understand many aspects of this process and the institute help shed some light on this. I would like to apply to a small teaching college in about two years. Although, I am not adverse to a research 1 school. I was a high school teacher before I became a graduate student and still substitute teach on days that I do not have classes. This is a way for me to stay connected to students at all levels in order to encourage them to continue with their education.


  41. Attending the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring was an invaluable experience. The camaraderie of the event is unmatched; never have I been in an environment were people are interested in learning more about you and your research. The attention I received from established professors is unlike any experience. From the time I arrived in Atlanta and got on the shuttle bus, the person I sat next to was quizzed me on my background; later, I was surprised to learn she was teaching a session and was an established professor in her

    Every session offered by the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring in invaluable to aspiring professors at every stage of their matriculation. As a beginner student I attended the proposal writing and chalk talk workshop sessions, to name a few. The beneficence of the workshops I attended to my current activities are unmatched, because during my attendance I was in the process of preparing for my first poster presentation and writing a proposal for funding. Therefore, the skills I learned were immediately applicable.
    My attendance also reinforced the significance of what it means to be a doctoral student. On the off hours of the workshop, many students and faculty would be in the internet accessible area of the hotel completing projects and correspondences. While I was doing the same throughout late hours of the night, there was not a moment during my stay where I was the only person in that area. The visual of diverse individuals all working very hard showed me that the experiences of my peers are the same and eliminated the feeling of
    isolation I often feel while working alone.

    The contacts I made over the weekend were also invaluable. I was able to solidify communication with some of the universities I have an interest in working at in the future. However, I was also able to reconnect with three people whom I attend undergrad with and are all now pursuing terminal degrees. The reaction received of every one of them was unparalleled as we were able to catch up with each other.

    The staff of the Institute was very polite and welcomed me as if I was the first person to register. Given that large number or participants that attended, 1500, it is expected for lethargic moments to ensue, however, this was not the case. Everyone treated registrants with respect.

    From this entire experience, I established as sense of belonging. Attending the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring has showed me the introductory road and skills necessary to complete my degree and become a professor. I would hope that with continued participation, I am able to bring that goal to fruition. My gracious thanks to the Institute, Dr. Tull for allowing me to participate, and AGEAP for providing the funding necessary for such an event to occur.


  42. I would like to thank all the people who made it possible for me to attend the SREB conference, particularly Dr. Tull.

    The seminar presenters provided a wealth of information and strategies that have helped to me prepare for the academic job market in 2013. Though some of the information presented served as a great fresher, all of the seminars I attended provide new and valuable information. To illustrate, prior to attending the conference, I had not seriously considered the type of institution I wanted to teach and work in. Given the state of the economy, I was primarily concerned about securing a position at any university. However, one seminar helped me to reconsider my approach to entering the academy. After all, I didn’t venture on this career path just to get a job. Rather my motivation to become a professor was contribute to the society through my research, teaching, and service—particularly at the intersection of race, health, and religion. Yet I had not seriously thought about the kind of university or college that would be supportive and encouraging of the work I wanted to do. I had not carefully conserved how the size, the demographic composition, location, and the mission of the college or university could affect my career path.

    In addition to reflecting on my approach to the academy, the conference helped me to think about how I could contribute to its mission of increasing the number of minority students in the STEM fields. Though I am a sociologist by training, the AGEP PROMISE program has exposed me to many ideas and individual (students, professors, and researchers) in the STEM fields. It is through this exposure that I have decided to include information about the importance of the STEM fields in the curriculum of the courses I teach in sociology. I began to do introduce discussion around science and technology in my fall 2010 introductory level course in sociology. However, I plan to expose future students to the STEM fields from a race, class and gender perceptive—the conference taught me a lot about mentoring minorities and women in STEM.


  43. I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who played a role in making my trip to the Institute possible. It was a most amazing experience and, as I progress through my program, I hope to have the opportunity to attend again. While I already endeavored to become a member of the professoriate for reasons expressed in my earlier post, the Institute solidified my decision, but also opened my eyes to the potential for faculty positions in conjunction with administrative positions that would allow me to continue working within my passion of providing access to education beyond college admission for underrepresented students.

    I am only in the first year of my program, however, visiting with some of the recruiters present proved very beneficial. At my own school’s table I met an administrator from the Provost’s office who actually graduated from my program not too long ago. It was great to get her perspective on different aspects of the program I’ve had questions about, as well as steps she took to ensure her successful completion. In speaking with another institution’s representatives I was exposed to an issue they are having on campus regarding the recruitment of minority students. Though their efforts have been successful and minority representation among the student body has increased, the school lacks the resources to effectively support these students and address their unique needs to ensure their retention. In the next few years they will be looking to bring on more individuals who would be willing to serve in a faculty and administrative capacity to aid in their minority retention efforts. This type of position is right up my alley. Though this may not be the school or position I end up at, it was good to become aware of the availability of positions like these and the types of schools that may have a need for them. I can use this information as one way to guide my search in the next 3 years.

    Finally, I have participated in volunteer activities with K-12 students for many years. Also, my last professional job was as an Admissions Officer. Though my area is not a STEM field, I have helped students in STEM areas through tutoring, counseling, and urging them to pursue their strengths in STEM fields by pursuing undergraduate and graduate education. Though seemingly small contributions, I know that every little be helps and hope to be able to continue doing so in the future.


  44. I would like to express my thanks to the STEM program and Dr. Tull. This experience helped me to further shape my career goals. This conference allowed me to speak with and engage individuals whom are in the position I plan to be. After obtaining my masters I plan on attending a PhD program at one of the Maryland universities. After attending this conference I will add to the STEM enterprise by encouraging more of my friends to pursue higher education. I will also let them know about this conference and how beneficial it was for me to attend. This was truly an overwhelming experience where I felt comfortable around my peers. I learned so much.

    In all, I would like to thank the STEM, AGEP and compact conference for the opportunity to attend and contribute to this incredible program. I will be sure to remember this experience when I am tutoring the students at the elementary school I volunteer at.


  45. First, I would like to thank Dr. Tull, the AGEP PROMISE program and SREB for allowing me to attend the conference this year as part of your group.

    It was very encouraging to be surrounded by and interacting with people at all different levels of the PhD process who look like me. To have the opportunity to network with people who are in their first year like me, have just finished or are currently faculty helps to keep my ultimate goal in perspective. When you have difficult days it can make finishing seem so impossible but to see people who have completed and to receive helpful tools in the workshops reminds me that a PhD is achievable.

    The information received in the workshops and being able to talk to the recruiters helped me to better understand the process of pursuing a faculty position. It has also reminded me of the fact that there are different types of institutions and I need to decide what type I ultimately want to work in.

    Being that I am in my first year I found this conference very motivating because it gave me some tools to maximize my graduate experience and an idea of how to pursue a professoriate position. I also love to meet students who are working on their degree so that I can develop a support system throughout this process. Until I have finished my studies and ready to look for I position I intend to continue to encourage minorities to take an interest in the STEM disciplines by continuing to tutor, and expose them to new topics and ideas.


  46. It has been about some time since the Compact conference and I can truly say that it has a lasting impact.

    I have concretely realized that my career dreams are within reach. There are universities that are teaching-intensive, research-intensive and those that have a balance of both. I know for a fact that I want teaching to be a part of my career in science and being at the conference and listening and talking to various scientists who are in academia have really illuminated the innumerable possibilities that exists.

    In addition, one of the seminars on “Eliminating psychological roadblocks” has really made an imprint of my conscious and subconscious. Consequently, I’m working that much harder to complete irregardless of circumstances and obstacles that arise. For example, my current research is in computational chemistry and after returning from the conference my computer crashed with all my processed data, proposals and hundreds of journal articles, which most of them were not backed-up. Rather than moping I’m keeping it moving and working on get new and better data and fellowship proposals.

    I just want to say a big thank you to Dr Tull and Promise for your support in my academic and professional development. See you at the next event!


  47. Last year’s SREB in Atlanta was an awesome experience and I hope to have the opportunity to participate in the Institute again this year! While I endeavored to become a member of the professoriate prior to attending, my experience in Atlanta solidified my decision. It also opened my eyes to the potential for faculty positions in conjunction with administrative positions, which will allow me to continue working within my passion for providing access to education beyond college admission, specifically for underrepresented students. My follow up post reflecting on last year’s SREB explains a lot of the value I gained from participating. In addition to those takeaways, I’ve benefited over the past year by utilizing advice I received in sessions regarding time management and navigating the doctoral/dissertation completion process. Though I am only entering the second year of my program, I am as up to speed as possible on the policies and procedures maintained by my graduate program and the graduate school to ensure there are no unforeseen roadblocks as I progress. Although my work is not in a STEM field, my attendance at SREB in Tampa can still serve to facilitate the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority professors in STEM fields. As a future professor and/or administrator, I will surely encounter underrepresented students interested in pursuing STEM fields in the classroom and other settings. By participating in SREB I am constantly reminded of the significance of STEM fields and the ways in which supportive teaching and mentoring can serve as a major influence and encouragement to such students.

    I intend to complete my doctoral program in Summer/Fall 2014. Initially, my intent upon graduation was to hopefully have already landed a teaching position. The Institute also exposed me to the multitude of Postdoctoral research and scholarship opportunities that are available, so those are a possibility as well. Definitely within the five to ten years following the completion of my program I endeavor to begin a teaching position, most likely within a Women’s Studies, American Studies, or Sociology program, as my research to date has revolved around issues of educational inequality, specifically the experiences and effects of being a 1st generation African American college student attending a predominantly white institution, as well as other challenges faced by underrepresented students. I am also pursuing hair and body politics and their manifestations and influence in the lives of African American women, especially throughout the various stages of college student development. I believe that, along with the research and publications I will produce to hopefully provide insight and guidance on these issues to those in academia who are otherwise unaware, my direct contact and engagement with these students will make an even greater difference in their college experience and academic, personal, and professional advancement. I have no doubt that some of those students will go on to pursue their education and teach in STEM fields.

    As mentioned in my initial post, my first PROMISE event was the Summer Success Institute (SSI). The SSI encompassed two days of motivational and thought-provoking speakers, team building activities, networking, and so much more. It was just what I needed to start the semester off right. Information provided, such as what the Impostor Syndrome is and the effects of Stereotype Threat, gave me a name and concepts to associate with some of the apprehension and anxiety I was having regarding beginning a Ph.D. program, as well as some methods with which to cope with those feelings. I also attended the PROMISE Opening Meeting. There I met even more aspiring graduate students from a variety of fields and backgrounds. I was able to bring my boyfriend to this event, and even he was inspired and is now researching graduate programs to apply to. I have been looking forward to attending this summer’s SSI all year because I know it will provide me with just the boost I need to start my second year off with a bang. I will definitely continue to attend as many PROMISE AGEP events as I possibly can; I never leave an event without feeling fully encouraged, supported, and prepared to keep going in the pursuit of my doctoral degree and other future aspirations. I am also hoping that my schedule will allow me the opportunity to participate in more of the workshops that PROMISE AGEP hosts each semester, specifically those that are geared toward enhancing our teaching abilities through the Professor in Training (PROF-it)/Teaching Fellows program.


  48. Third comment on this post! I attended SREB last fall in Atlanta and it has been the best external experience I’ve had in graduate school thus far. Apart from the workshops, I’ve learned of the amazing network of African Americans and other minorities pursuing graduate education and of the support system that exists upon graduation. The workshops truly inspired me to continue to do well and learn how to get the most out of graduate school. Originally, I had no interest in academia as a career option but that was mainly due to unfamiliarity of the process of becoming a professor. Speaking with representatives from different schools and attending workshops helped to demystify this cloud and presented a wide range of options I could pursue, in academia and in industry.

    Similarly, I am inspired by the number of minorities in graduate school attending the PROMISE Opening Meeting and other PROMISE events. Further, the Professors Beyond Borders seminar on university settings in different countries has made me realize the opportunities we are afforded here in the United States and encourages me to continue with my doctoral degree and pursue as many opportunities as I can. I will continue to support PROMISE as it has supported me, being sure to attend established programs such as ‘When Faculty Say X, They Really Mean Y’ and any professional writing and public speaking seminars.

    I hope to finish my PhD in 2015 and I am still unsure of what I want to do after I graduate but I would like to set academia as my primary goal. Therefore attending SREB in Tampa will allow me to meet more faculty members and graduate students, and learn from their experiences. I also would like to attend more workshops geared specifically towards academia to gain a deeper insight into the requirements and application process.

    Overall I do know that I would like to impact the community and increase the number of African Americans in STEM fields within the next 5-10 years. This was instilled in me at a young age as a National Society of Black Engineers member and I plan to continue with this goal through the help of PROMISE and events such as SREB.



    There have been some questions about opportunities to pay for the conference with personal funds for those students who are interested, but don’t receive travel awards to attend. Students can pay through the UMBC Graduate School, and we will pay SREB. Even if you pay for your own costs, you must be nominated and attend as part of the cohort. We cannot break up the costs; it is a package deal. Here is the 2012 cost information from SREB:

    The cost for one scholar to attend the 2012 Institute in Tampa, FL is $850.00 This covers the following:

    • Lodging in a double room (2 persons per room) for 3 nights @ $80.00 per night
    including tax – $240.00 per scholar

    • All conference meals (Thursday evening to Sunday morning excluding dinner on Saturday evening) – $230 per scholar

    • Registration fee (includes all conference materials) – $350 per scholar

    • Ground Transportation roundtrip from airport to hotel – $30.00 per scholar (roundtrip)


  50. Hello! My name is Marisa Franco and I am a PhD student in counseling psychology ad UMD. I attended the SREB conference last year in Atlanta and would love the honor of attending this year’s conference. At last year’s SREB, I was humbled and inspired to see so many other Black PhD students across various fields pursuing the professoriate; it reminded me that I am not alone.
    Attending a conference like SREB motivates me to continue to move forward and pursue a career as a professor with a research agenda focused on mitigating minority health disparities. Also, seeing the important influence that mentors had in the lives of my SREB colleagues makes me want to pursue mentorship in order to give back and open doors for more minority scholars.


  51. Hello, my name is Georgette Washington and I am a student at Morgan State University, pursuing an EdD in Urban Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Planning. My expected graduation date is May 2013. I currently teach Special Education classes in the Howard County Public School System in Maryland.

    As an educator I am very interested in advancing the use of technology in the K-12 classroom and Higher Education arena. It is my goal to become a professor and Educational Planning Specialist in Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education with an emphasis on implementing new and innovative ways to use technology in the classroom. In order to advance STEM Education, teachers must be as up to date as possible in how to effectively use technology to facilitate student-learning experiences. Having taught Science classes as an Elementary Teacher, Science Club Sponsor, and Special Educator, I know first hand that a teacher must use any resource that is available to them to engage students in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Which, if done well, can foster a life-long love in the field of Science and scientific endeavors for our students. Even though, I am not a Scientist, I understand the importance of Science and STEM Education to our society and endeavor to use my education and training to advance the education of others.

    Last year I attended the PROMISE Summer Success Institute (SSI), The Dissertation House (DH) session conducted at SSI, and the 2011 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring. I also plan to participate again this year because the information conveyed at each setting put me on the path of actively positioning myself to pursue a career in the professorate. For example, upon my return from the SREB Conference in Atlanta, I began researching and applying for college professor positions. Although, I was not hired, I gained valuable experience and have become confident that it is just a matter of time before I find the right Higher Education position for me.

    Being given the opportunity to attend the SREB Conference in Tampa, FL will afford me even more avenues into the world of academia as a minority doctoral student, that would otherwise be closed to me. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to gaining more information to expand my knowledge base and the networking opportunities offered that would solidify my foundation for becoming a professor, so that I can pay forward the blessings that have been given to me through education.


  52. Last year, I attended the SREB Institute in Atlanta, and I benefitted from workshops that provided invaluable insight into the Ph.D process. Specifically, the Institute helped me identify major and subtle barriers to completing the degree, dynamics of developing dissertation committee, and potential career paths once I complete my program. Thankfully, this came at a critical time in my own process, as I transitioned from completing coursework into planning my dissertation research, writing my proposal, and assembling a committee. Since then, I have passed my second round of comprehensive exams and defended my dissertation proposal.

    My research interests center on the academic experiences of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM fields. I am particularly interested in classroom interactions, and the experiences of graduate students who will ultimately become the next generation of minority professors in STEM. I hope that my work will be used to develop more inclusive teaching and learning environments in postsecondary STEM contexts. My attendance at the conference will help me further my work to support underrepresented minorities in STEM and strengthen the pipeline of future faculty.

    When I finish my Ph.D., I would like to continue researching, either as a professor or post-doctoral fellow, to contribute to our knowledge about practices and environments that lead success for underrepresented minorities in STEM.

    Several PROMISE/AGEP programs have positively impacted my persistence in my program thus far, including the Peer Mentoring Program, Summer Institute, Fall Harvest Dinners, Research Symposia, and Graduation Celebrations. In each of these programs, I have been introduced to staff and other graduate students at UMCP and other campuses, who have taken a genuine interest in my success and shared their experiences with me. During my first year in my program, I was matched with a Peer Mentor in my college who shared insight about classes, time management, and opportunities to develop professionally. In subsequent years, I served as a mentor to other incoming students. I have also connected with PROMISE staff at UMDCP and UMBC who understand the Ph.D. process and have served as mentors and resources throughout my graduate studies. In the future, I look forward to presenting my own research in PROMISE symposia, mentoring other graduate students, sharing my experiences at Summer Institutes, and meeting with the dissertation coach.

    I hope to attend the Institute in Tampa this year as I begin engaging in dissertation research and considering career options after I graduate. I believe that attending workshops targeting students working on dissertations, developing teaching portfolios, and/or beginning job searches would be particularly beneficial for me this year. Networking with prospective employers and Post-Doctoral fellowship providers would also help me lay the groundwork for my next steps after completing my degree.


  53. As a black woman in a Government and Politics doctoral program, it is easy to feel isolated and as if you are constantly fighting battles, in a field traditionally dominated by white men; last year’s SREB conference in Atlanta served as a much needed reminder as to why I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Government and Politics. Although the conference sessions and the information learned in the sessions were invaluable, it was hearing the similar experiences of other minorities in varying fields that has really stayed with me. The amiable atmosphere of the conference was conducive to creating lasting relationships that offer me refuge when feelings of isolation and misunderstanding occur.
    Having the ability to attend this year will allow me to strengthen these relationships and create new ones that will aid in the successful completion of my doctoral program.

    The SREB conference is one of the largest gatherings of minority professors and graduate students in the STEM fields and this alone serves as motivation for me to continue my own journey. I have completed all of my coursework and this August I will take my final comprehensive exam, I am currently reading and researching in order to write my prospectus and wish to defend it by the end of fall semester. The SREB conference would serve as the extra push, I am sure I will need by October. I estimate that I will be near completion with my doctoral degree in two years. After successful completion I plan on becoming a professor and teaching courses in education policy and race and politics. Throughout this process I plan on using the Dissertation House.


  54. At the SREB in Atlanta, I learned that the STEM careers are the most popular among the future globalization. Now that my self-confident is stronger, I can share with other underrepresented minority professionals in the STEM field my outcomes from my previous SREB and how these outcomes have helped other individuals in developing strategies to increase the numbers of professionals in the STEM field, for example, I started to share what I have learned in my previous SREB workshops with some friends from the Department of Defense and they were very impressed with some of these initiatives because they are also interested in increasing the number of underrepresented minority professionals in STEM fields. They even told me about an initiative that they are doing in where they are connecting with Higher Education Institutions and provide them with some funding to increase the number of minority professors in the Engineering and Computer Science field because they want to increase the number of minorities in the workforce; so attending the SREB in Tampa will allow me to network with Higher Education Professionals and gain more knowledge that I will share with other minority professionals in the higher education and the intelligence community.

    Currently, I am planning to complete my PhD in the computer science field in the next five and hope to obtain a full-time faculty position in such a field. I just started to take some graduate courses. In addition, I am attending some PROMISE AGEP career workshops sponsored by the NIH. I believe that PROMISE AGEP have been a big motivator that has encouraged me to pursue my doctoral degree.


  55. I was fortunate to attend the SREB conference in Atlanta last year. As a first year grad student, I knew I had challenges ahead and I was mostly prepared to confront them when they presented. And as it was, my first year was filled with a lot of challenges but I was more than ready to face them. I credit most of my readiness to the SREB conference and what I was able to take away from the conference. I also met some very reliable colleagues at UMBC and also from other states and schools who have been supportive through the year. The SREB is a community, a family and I am happy I got a chance to be part of it. As I embark on my second year, I know I will still be carrying forward lessons from the conference which will help me succeed in my program. I am really grateful for the opportunity.


  56. As I have considered my professional goals and plans upon the completing my doctoral studies, becoming a professor is among the options I have weighed most heavily. Attending the SREB Institute on Teaching and Learning provided a valuable opportunity to learn strategies for navigating complex and often unspoken aspects of joining the professoriate. The workshops that discussed approaches to publishing consistently, developing an effective job talk, and negotiating salaries were especially helpful in allying my concerns about how I might secure and maintain a tenure-track position. The Institute reinvigorated my desire to apply for tenure-track positions at a Research I university. In addition to these positions, I am also considering a faculty appointment within a hospital system where I hope to develop a community-based research agenda for populations experiencing health disparities. My research interests, which center around low-income fathers’ engagement in children’s health care, will contribute to a growing body of social science research that connects social behavior with practical implications for health outcomes for the most vulnerable families in our society.


  57. Hello Everyone,

    My name is Erin L. Berry and I am a newly admitted Doctoral Student within the Department of Language, Literacy & Culture at UMBC and I have 1 year of full-time college classroom teaching experience under my belt.

    I would love to be a part of this opportunity if it is offered again, this year as my goal is to teach as a faculty member within the college classroom upon my completion of my Doctoral program. I am extremely moved by all of the experiences that are listed above my comment and hope to be able to participate in the discourse if opportunity to attend this conference is offered again.


  58. Hello everyone,

    My name is Navid Manuchehrabadi, I joined the Ph.D. program at UMBC in September 2010 and since then I have worked in Dr. Liang zhu’s laboratory on my Ph.D. dissertation research. I am a hardworking student towards his dissertation research. Through my inter-disciplinary research in the field of biomedical engineering,i have shown a clear promise for an outstanding career in both academics and industry. For a very short duration of less than three years,my research has resulted in three peer reviewed journal papers published or in review in ASME research journals, as well as nine conference papers and presentations, of which I am the first and leading author. I advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in 2012. Based on my research progress, I am expected to defend my Ph.D. dissertation in Jan. 2014.
    I have been supported by the mechanical engineering department via teaching assistantship. Attending a conference like SREB motivates me to continue to move forward and pursue a career as a professor with a research agenda focused on Laser photothermal therapy for curing cancer. I realize the importance of mentoring to assist students in the professoriate and have begun to think about ways that I can influence the next generation through teaching and policy involvement.



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