Doctoral students in programs historically under-represented by black and Hispanic students have received McKnight doctoral or thesis scholarships that provide financial support, counseling, and professional development. When these students graduate, they become eligible to teach at the college level.
Since 1984, the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program has worked with universities and colleges in Florida to increase the number of black and Hispanic doctoral students. holders of arts and sciences, business, engineering, health sciences, nursing, and disciplines related to the visual and performing arts.
In the largest cohort to date at the University of Miami, six students – three are doctoral students and three are doctoral students – have been accepted into the McKnight 2021 Doctoral Fellowship program. The goal of the program is to increase the pool of black and Hispanic doctoral students. holders interested in teaching at the college level, in the hope of combating the under-representation of these minorities at the faculty level in higher education institutions.
The University of Miami Graduate School supports many students in the pursuit of their doctorates. Each year, interested students whose end goal matches the mission of the McKnight program are encouraged to apply.
Doctoral Fellowships provide an annual tuition fee of up to $ 5,000 for each of the three academic years, plus an annual stipend of $ 12,000, in addition to attendance at the McKnight Summer Research and Writing Institute. (Each participating institution provides additional financial support for two years.) Recipients will also have exclusive access to workshops and conferences during their award year.
The Thesis Fellowships provide doctoral students in STEM-related disciplines up to one year of support based on their outstanding academic achievement, commitment to careers in teaching and research at the university level, and commitment to service community. Each scholarship provides a stipend of up to $ 12,000 in addition to expenses paid to attend the McKnight Summer Research and Writing Institute and all other McKnight-related workshops and conferences. Here are the recipients of this award.
Doctoral scholarship recipients:
In his first year of a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology. A student, Olivia Bosques is originally from Miami and received her Masters from the University of Miami in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Today she works in Professor Sylvia Daunert’s bionanotechnology laboratory at the Medical Campus.
“The research I’m involved in is molecular diagnostics, in particular point-of-care diagnostic tests and their development, as well as targeted drug delivery using nanoparticles,” said Bosquet. “It’s pretty big, but everything to do with improving drugs and medical devices. ”
Prior to this experience, Bosquet did not know where her passion for research would take her. She knew one thing for sure: she wanted to help medicine progress and develop in any way it could.
“I want to help make medicine more accessible to people living in areas that don’t really have a lot of high-tech lab equipment,” Bosquet said.
Bosquet is thrilled to be a part of the McKnight community and looks forward to excelling and sharing information with other like-minded people in the program.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Bosquet. “It’s all about helping the future of medicine and I’m very happy to have been selected to be part of a community of people with similar backgrounds and goals. The support offered by the scholarship, from writing to managing mentor / mentee relationships to acquiring a whole network of people, is exciting.
Born and raised in Hollywood, Florida, Jalyse Cuff is well versed in climate change and its effects.
After graduating from Howard University with a BS in Biology, Cuff participated in the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Technology Fellowship with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“The research I was able to do there really kicked off my career path and inspired me to move into environmental science,” Cuff said. “My experiences have confirmed that I would like to formulate policies and help government entities in climate change research. ”
Cuff also taught English in Madrid, Spain, and math and science in Pembroke Pines, Florida, before enrolling in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science this fall. After learning about the incredible program that links both her love for environmental research and environmental policy, she said she knew the University was the place where she could learn and grow.
“I think my main passion is to add to the research dynamic that is climate change and to be able to relay that information to my community and also to be able to speak on behalf of people who are like me,” Cuff said.
Becoming a member of McKnight is a highlight for Cuff as she embarks on a journey no one in her family has taken before: pursuing higher education.
“I’m a first generation student so it’s a big achievement for me,” said Cuff, who was also the first in her family to earn an undergraduate degree. “I have two nephews aged 1 and 4 who I know watch over me and believe in me to ‘save the earth’. ”
Angelique Rosa Marin
Born in Catalina, Puerto Rico, Angelique Rosa Marin is currently pursuing her doctorate in marine geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Rosa Marin studies the use of protists – an organism – as indicators of reefs. She also practices culturally relevant science communication. When not working hard in the lab, she connects with her followers on social media, helping to amplify reef management strategies and provide important information to underrepresented communities.
“My goal is to provide innovative monitoring tools to improve global reef management and create inclusive content for the public,” said Rosa Marin. “I am very passionate about science communication and sharing the information I learn in English and Spanish. ”
In August, the McKnight Cohort attended a two-day orientation in Tampa, Florida. Rosa Marin noted that the reunion was one of the most electrifying experiences ever.
“I’m generally very critical, but this conference has been amazing,” said Rosa Marin. “I felt the support and it was nice to be face to face and in a room full of doctoral students. students from different disciplines and have the chance to engage with program leaders.
Thesis scholarship recipients:
At first, Brittney Davis was happy and content to be a high school teacher after graduating from Virginia Tech with her BA in English and then a Masters in Education. However, after years of teaching, she felt that its impact could reach more students and impact them by changing the system from within.
Davis’s burning passion led her to pursue a doctorate in community psychology to create and change policies that specifically impacted black and brown students across the country.
“I was doing all of this work in my class, but it didn’t really help because even in this little microcosm of people there were people actively canceling the work I was doing,” said Davis, from Prince George. . Maryland County.
This work included engaging and understanding her students, engaging in wise practice, and building the cultural racial pride of her students.
Today, Davis’ work will allow him to study systems and their impact on people of color and communities in general. The objective of his research is to study the distance learning experiences of gifted black college students.
“I am looking at the distance learning environment and the implications for black boys and girls and I am pursuing this change,” Davis said. “There has been a drastic change in education so this is something that really interests me. “
Elisabeth Jeffrey embarked on the doctoral program in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami.
After earning a Master of Science degree from the Miller School of Medicine, where she conducted research on gut bacteria and fungi on gastrointestinal diseases prevalent after spinal cord injury, she decided to continue the work that ‘she had started at a higher level. She is currently pursuing research because she wants to make a positive contribution to something that will help others in the long run.
“Rather than choosing a project that was basic research, I chose a project that was more translational,” she said. “This research is personal because I wanted to improve the quality of life for people with traumatic spinal cord injury.”
Growing up, Jeffrey was made to believe that she was not “good enough” for science. Through the positive reinforcement of caring teachers, mentors, and professors, she overcame every obstacle that stood in her way. She wants other people who may face similar obstacles to know that staying the course and gaining a support group is essential for success.
“The McKnight community is a very tight-knit and supportive group,” said Jeffrey, who first applied to the program in 2017 and received the award on his second attempt. “It’s a unique environment which I think will help me personally and professionally.”
In her fifth year of her doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at the School of Education and Human Development, Monique McKenney is almost at the finish line.
“My research focuses on how black youth and their caregivers engage in communication about race and racial incidents, defined as the process of racial socialization,” McKenney said. “I am motivated to continue this line of research to contribute to the strengths-based literature on black families.”
As this chapter of her life draws to a close, she looks back on the many people who have contributed to her ability to achieve such fellowship.
“I am grateful to have this village throughout my college career,” she said, naming several people from the school and the University of Michigan.
As a McKnight member, McKenney is excited to connect and learn more about fellow Florida academics.
“I am in awe of the other fellows and their research in this network and look forward to building relationships and potentially collaborating,” she said. “I consider this community to be incredibly valuable to me, both personally and professionally. “