They are about to make history in a field that sees less than two percent of African-American women.
Eight African-American women from this year’s graduation class at Indiana University School of Education are making headlines as they are on the track to receive their PhD’s in Education together.
Speaking about their accomplishment in an interview with Fox 59, Demetrees Hutchins, Nadrea Njoku, Jasmine Haywood, Johari Shuck, Tiffany Kyser, Jada A. Phelps-Moultrie, Juhanna N. Rogers and Shannon McCullough, dubbed “the great eight,” said the weight of the task ahead dawned on them when they realized soon after beginning the program that not many women of color had come before them or at least not at the same time.
“We understood very early on that we had a distinction, a commonality, a thread between all of us and so we began to meet as a group,” PhD candidate Nadrea Njoku told Fox 59.
Haven come through different paths, but never failing in supporting each other in a field that sees less than two percent of African-American women, the group will walk across the stage in May to get their well-deserved degrees.
“We often deal with this idea that we always have to do more. And our collective black female community here we were able to tell each other you’re enough,” PhD candidate Jasmine Haywood said.
Their journey was not smooth, but the great eight navigated through as a team with the comfort of having each other to stay sane.
“We really value the fact that we need each other to deal with emotional expression,” PhD candidate Johari Shuck said.
Despite facing challenges of anxiety and a burden of being frequently singled out these amazing women want to use their collective achievement to inspire others.
“Standing in solidarity with each other as women and as black women but also opening up a space where we’re standing in solidarity with other historically underrepresented marginalized groups in the university,” PhD candidate Tiffany Kyser explained.
The history making-group of African-American women, who have acknowledged their rise to prominence came as a surprise, are now pointing the spotlight toward the future so other women of color can flourish after them.
“If we get more images of showing us in these positive lights. Then we can truly say this is nothing special because it happens all the time. So until we get to that point we’ll be the great eight and we’ll shine that light on it,” PhD candidate Demetrees Hutchins said.
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