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Bouchet Honor Society

Rethinking Advocacy: Organizing and Racial Justice Work in Higher Education

Rethinking Advocacy: Organizing and Racial Justice Work in Higher Education

I am reminded of my first day of college when I think about Dr. Edward A. Bouchet’s experiences as the first African American person to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S., from Yale University, and the importance of advocacy when thinking about addressing racial disparities in enrollment and retention. I remember after my first day, one of my best friends (who was white) asked me, “Austin, how did it feel to be on a campus where you weren’t around your own, like in high school?” The question stunned me—partly because we did not always talk about race so explicitly, and partly because he recognized the few numbers of black students before I did.


The views expressed in this post are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Rackham Graduate School or the University of Michigan.

Learning Through Reflection: A Graduate Student's Story of Reciprocity

My pursuit of a Ph.D. is grounded in a desire to study how research-informed school- and community-based programs can foster meaningful literacy learning for young learners. I focus mostly on how to address the needs of children who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy (e.g., racial/ethnic minority, those from under-resourced communities). As a current candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, many of my achievements to date demonstrate how I strive for academic and personal excellence in my work and how I seek to embody the characteristics of Dr. Edward A. Bouchet and the Bouchet Honor Society.

Student Spotlight: Natalie Davis

Michigan has hundreds of acronyms, and one of our favorites at Rackham is SROP. The Summer Research Opportunity Program is a program for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds to come to U-M for intensive research and an introduction to graduate school. Natalie knows SROP well, having participated as a sophomore from Columbia University. She remembers, “I really didn’t fully understand the significance of the program when I applied. It made logistical sense for me to come home to Detroit that summer and have something productive to do, but it was so much more than I expected. I came here and gained a deeper understanding of what it means to do research and pursue an advanced degree. It was eye-opening.

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