#SisterPhD began summer 2015 when Laila McCloud realized she had five friends, all Black women, entering different higher education and student affairs graduate programs across the country. Laila knew the doctoral process would be difficult and sought to preempt the challenges associated with doctoral study by banding together the five of us thereby creating SisterPhD. The SisterPhD model is designed to facilitate friendships and sisterhood through talking out research, connecting about life experiences, allowing room to vent, and problematize opportunities for growth of self and the group. SisterPhD is made up of Laila McCloud (U. Iowa), Brittany Williams (Georgia), Mika Karikari (Miami-OH), DaVida Anderson (U. Iowa), and Shetina Jones (Indiana State). Over the last two years, we have presented on our experiences as Black women navigating academia at NASPA and ACPA  and were overwhelmed by the response. We decided to expand our reach by creating an online space for more women to connect using SisterPhD.com as that platform and by encouraging other women to develop their own versions of SisterPhD on their campus and/or in their fields of study. We are particularly interested in supporting Black women who work in higher education and student affairs, but welcome Sisters from other disciplines and fields of study.

Please feel free to spread the word about SisterPhD and connect with us on Twitter:

SisterPhD at ASHE 2017

The role of Sister Circles in African American Women Doctoral Student Success

  •  General Conference Roundtables: Table 20: Educational Experiences of Black Women Students
  • Fri, November 10, 8:00 to 8:45am, Marriott Marquis Houston, Fourth, Salon FGH
  • About this session: There is a significant gap between the number of African American women who pursue graduate education and pursue roles within academia. The purpose of this roundtable is to encourage a dialogue about the impact of gendered racism on diversifying the professional pipeline.

About the SisterPhD Team

Laila McCloud is a doctoral student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of Iowa and a research assistant in the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education (CRUE). Her research interests focus broadly on equity in education and more specifically on Black college student success and the distribution of social and cultural capital at historically Black colleges and universities. Laila has over 10 years of experience as a Student Affairs practitioner,  primarily in multicultural student affairs and retention initiatives. She has a master’s degree in Counseling and College Student Development and a bachelor's in Sociology and African & Black Diaspora Studies both from DePaul University. You can connect with Laila on Twitter -@FrontRowMama where she tweets everything from trends in Black higher education to funny things her son says.

Brittany M. Williams is a doctoral candidate in College Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia where she serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Instruction (OVPI). Brittany holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hampshire College where she constructed a course of study on Hip Hop and popular culture as forms of nontraditional (Western) pedagogy, and obtained her Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Sociology of Education where she focused on education policy and higher education contexts. Brittany is a co-founder of #CiteASista and proud to call #SisterPhD her home team. Her research agenda focuses on Black Women in postsecondary educational and employment contexts, career development and higher education socialization, Black queer identities and aesthetics, social justice, and non-traditional pedagogy such as game-based learning, Hip Hop, and popular culture. When not researching, writing, teaching, and studying, you can find Brittany glued to old episodes of Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and The Carrie Diaries or enjoying Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Being Mary Jane. You can connect with Brittany on Twitter or by web at www.brittanymwilliams.com

DaVida L. Anderson, M.Ed., is the Founder and Executive Director of Strong Sister, Silly Sister Inc., a not-for-profit organization committed to empowering college women to embrace ethical choices and become their best self.  With expertise in student affairs, focusing on residence education, student conduct and fraternity and sorority life, Anderson has an exceptional ability to develop programs and facilitate discussions that result in productive and measurable outcomes. DaVida believes that a part of being successful depends primarily on making positive choices.  Where there is a disconnect, Anderson seeks to build a bridge through relevant and meaningful conversation to help individuals recognize and maximize their full potential.  Her insight, energy, and passion have made her a widely sought after speaker and presenter. Anderson received her B.A. degree in political science and a minor in African American studies from Purdue University.  She holds a master’s degree in higher education from Loyola University Chicago.  She also earned a certification in mediation from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education and student affairs at the University of Iowa.

Shetina M. Jones is a proud Detroiter and graduate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High School class of 2002.  She is an alumna of Eastern Michigan University where she received both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees. Shetina is currently a doctoral student at Indiana State University in the Bayh College of Education Educational Administration program with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership.  Shetina’s areas of expertise include diversity planning and programming, motivational speaking, student development, and maternal loss. In addition, she has created and developed the following workshops: leadership, diversity, self-esteem, student conduct, and advising.  She has been speaking to small and large audiences for over 10 years.   Shetina is a co-founder of Fearlessly Fierce, LLC. Shetina hopes to reach as many people as possible to inspire them to live the life they envisioned for themselves. Shetina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., ACPA, and NASPA.

Shamika Karikari is a passionate educator committed to social justice. She is dedicated to empowering others to use their voice to bring change to the spaces they occupy. Shamika’s extensive work in residence life, academic support, orientation and now career services provided her with opportunities to serve students and support them during their collegiate experience. As a current doctoral student in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Miami University, Shamika’s research interest are Black women and leadership and critical social justice pedagogy. She holds a Masters Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University. When not reading and writing for school, Shamika can be found writing in her blog, tweeting (@MikaKarikari), baking, or hanging with her husband.

*Updates forthcoming*