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College of Social Work

Ph.D. Student Selected for Fellowship Program

June 13, 2019
Chris Woodley •

Brittany Davis earned her Master of Social Work degree with a focus in community organization from the University of Michigan in 2008. But after working in various social work positions in Michigan and North Carolina for a decade, she decided to study for her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and pursue a teaching career. As Davis prepares for her second year of the doctoral program this fall, she will have the unique opportunity to learn from fellow scholars and faculty throughout campus.

Davis was recently selected to the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the scholar program aims to recruit and prepare minority students for becoming college and university professors.

“I learned about the program prior to being admitted to the Ph.D. program by searching for opportunities the school offered for minorities pursing a Ph.D.,” Davis said. “While reading through the program’s newsletter, I was motivated by seeing the opportunities that scholars received and noticed that many of the alumni are currently teaching in Research 1 institutions. It seemed like the program really offered great opportunities for networking and mentorship for aspiring African American educators.”

The fellowship will provide Davis with up to four years of funding. Following an orientation this summer, she will be assigned a faculty mentor and participate in the university’s Preparing Future Faculty Program. Davis is also required to publish two articles in the program’s Monograph Series and complete at least one community service project per year.   

“This is an opportunity for me to feel a sense of community with other aspiring African American educators,” Davis said. “I know that racial minorities often face unique advancement challenges in academia. I currently serve as an online educator at the instructor level, and I’m confident that the program will provide me with necessary professional development to advance to the professorate level of instruction. To show my appreciation, I intend to give back after I complete the program.” 

Of the numerous opportunities the McFadden Professors Program provides, Davis is most looking forward to mentorship and connecting with aspiring Ph.D. students.

“It will be great to be paired with a mentor and someone who is a full-tenured professor,” Davis said. “I'll learn some wisdom and knowledge from them in terms of what it takes to be sustained as a minority educator. The think-tank opportunities will also allow me to be in an environment with other highly intelligent and engaging students. Being around other sharp thinkers is something that will be beneficial.”

Davis is also excited for the opportunities to present on her areas of interest while continuing to build confidence in articulating research agendas.

“Universities that are hiring professors want to see a candidate’s level of research,” Davis said. “The fact that this program is focused on me as an educator and researcher will be a huge benefit moving forward.” 

According to Ph.D. Program Coordinator Maryah Fram, Davis uses each assignment to create opportunities for her own development as a scholar. She added that her openness to feedback is truly impressive.

“I am confident that Brittany will take up the rich array of opportunities that the McFadden Professors Program offers,” Fram said. “Because of Brittany’s academic talent, her scholarly focus on advancing social justice, and her impressive work ethic, I am equally confident that she will be an asset to the program. This fellowship is an exciting foundation from which Brittany will embark on an impressive faculty career.”

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