Black Graduate Student Research


Photo Courtesy of Katrina Overby

On February 7th, executive members of the  Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) participated in the “Black Scholars Showcase” at the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center on IU’s campus. Graduate and undergraduates students presented various research presentations from dissertation proprosals to conference research papers. Pictured below are (left to right) Gloria Howell (Secretary), Carl Darnell (Black Chair), Katrina Overby (President), and Brandi Caruthers (Vice President).

Happy Day After Valentine’s Day

For those of us graduate students who aren’t in relationships, are on a budget, and looking for some tasty treats, the day after Valentine’s Day can be the best day of the year! Why you ask? Valentine’s Day candy is ON SALE! Yummy chocolates that were once $5 are now anywhere from $1 to $2. I am on a mission to make February 15th a new holiday called “Treat Yourself” (taken from my favorite show Parks and Recreation). Take time for the real “Reason for the Season” of love…love on yourself and buy yourself some discounted candy!


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My Library FAVES!

I have two favorite places located at the Indiana University Herman B. Wells main library. Both of my favorites are located in the basement in the East Tower of the library. The first of my favorites is the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A). I discovered this hidden treasure during the fall of 2012 and I began working as a part time graduate assistant in the summer of 2013. Continue reading

Taking a Breather!!!

Let’s get real: Graduate school can get VERY stressful! In order to relax your brain (and keep your sanity) sometimes you have to take a break! Even one step further than that, schedule a break for yourself just like you would for a meeting with you advisor!

Here is a list of things that I schedule for myself throughout the semester, and sometimes once a week!

1.) A day where I don’t do any work after 12:30 p.m. : My “day to myself” is what I call “Thursday Funday” and I take night to hang with my classmates at a bar and eat lunch with friends 🙂
2.) A day for an hour long massage: This is a good way to release some tension!
3.) A couple of hours wine tasting: Here in Bloomigton, IN Oliver Winery does $5 wine tastings on Saturdays!
4.) Buy something just for fun: Somedays I just go buy something for myself without necessity. Splurge a little!
5.) Deep clean your house: In order to have clarity, you must clean. A cluttered house means a cluttered mind!

If you remember to schedule times for a breather, you too will survive grad school!

Started from the Bottom: No Funding

College Money

Courtesy of

The first important step in affording the life of a graduate student is finding funding in the form of fellowship or an assistantship! My personal experience with finding funding for my Master’s and Doctoral degrees was not the usual case. Going into my Master’s program, my tuition was covered because I was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, but that fellowship did not come with an assistantship, so I found a part time job so that I could pay for my books, apartment, and bills. Continue reading

Grad Life Advice:Late Night Study Grind!

The late night study grind is indeed no stranger to graduate students. Most nights will be filled with tons of reading material and note taking that you need read for the next days classes. Although reading ahead of time is strongly suggested, often times you won’t have time to do so, so you must submit to the late night study grind. So here are a few tips to get you through the night! Continue reading

My Favorite Place in Bloomington!

After living in Bloomington for two years, I’ve found a place that feels like home! That place is the Black Film Center/Archive located in the basement of the Herman B. Wells library on campus. After spending an entire semester conducting research in the archives, I became a part of the family this past summer as a Graduate Assistant. Continue reading

Ph.D Before 30…Skipping the Workforce

I graduated from undergrad when I was 22. I graduated from my master’s program at 24. I am currently 26 and in the third year of my doctoral degree. I am the definition of the dreaded “professional student” who has skipped the workforce and has continued to matriculate through numerous degrees WITHOUT a single break. You may ask why I chose to not enter the workforce or take a break, and there is really one simple answer.


Each time I applied to a program, there were funding opportunities available for me to attend school tuition free, with fellowships, and with stipends to top the deal. For me, it was a simple decision. I continued to go to school because I was able to do so financially. Although funding was a big part of the decision, I should have considered all the pros and cons of skipping the workforce. Now in hindsight, I can share the good and the bad.

The BAD:

-School is exhausting. I’ve not given myself anytime between degrees to just let things absorb mentally and release all of the stresses that come along with higher education. At times it can be very tiring. It may have been good to at least take a semester off.


-Photo Courtesy of by Jorge Cham


-Plenty of time to transition into academic life. I plan to finish before I’m 30, this will give me plenty of time to make decisions about my academic future, whether I decide to teach or do research, and I even have the option of taking a break once I’m finished. I feel like I’ve given myself a cushion to make crucial decisions concerning my future.

Ultimately, any route you take to higher education should be based on your own wants and needs. Take the time to consider the pros and cons. If your considering going back for your Ph.D and you’ve been in the workforce, I strongly encourage you to do so! Especially if there are readily available funding opportunities  Honestly, looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing!