Eight Black Women Make History By Receiving PhD’s Together
A group of PhD candidates in the Indiana School of Education is making history. They’re known as “the great eight.” They’ve formed a sister circle and they say it’s been the key to crossing the finish line.
After beginning the program the ladies soon realized not many women of color had come before them or at least not at the same time. So they set out to change that feeling of being the odd ball out.
“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,” said PhD candidate Nadrea Njoku.
The women were on different paths at different times, but cheering each other on in a field that sees less than two percent of African-American women.
“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,” said PhD candidate Jasmine Haywood.
The group was the only thing that kept them sane when the journey got tough.
“We really value the fact that we need each other to deal with emotional expression,” said PhD candidate Johari Shuck.
The group says there’s anxiety and a burden to being singled out often.
“When you’re the only or one of a handful of people of color in the classroom particularly when it comes to speaking about issues of race. You can often become the token or spokesperson,” Haywood said.