By Alicia Gregory
The UNited In True Racial Equity Research Priority Area (UNITE RPA) welcomed its inaugural cohort of 18 graduate students from 6 colleges to the UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program. Five of the 18 students are from the College of Education.
UNITE is led by Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D., associate vice president for research, diversity and inclusion. She created this program in 2022, with support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of Institutional Diversity and The Graduate School, to engage and support scholars who enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in Ph.D. programs at UK. The program is aligned with university priorities to create cultures of inclusive excellence while integrating students into the world of research and academia.
“Diverse students face unique social and cultural barriers to success when completing a Ph.D. program,” said Stevens-Watkins, a professor of education, school and counseling psychology. “From my own lived experience of this difficult process nearly two decades ago, I was compelled to create a program to increase support for diverse Ph.D. students at UK. We received an overwhelming number of applications from stellar candidates which speaks to the needs of our students. The commitment that our colleges administrators and faculty mentors demonstrate is extremely valuable and vital for student success. It is my sincere hope we can continue our support and intentionally foster success to increase diversity in the pipeline of research scholars entering the professorate.”
College of Education students in the 2022 cohort are:
- Brittany Cannon (Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, College of Education)
- Monyae Kerney (Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, College of Education)
- Olukemi Kolawole (Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation, College of Education)
- James Murray (Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation, College of Education)
- Odunayo Omotilewa (Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation, College of Education)