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College of Social Work

Betty Wilson Awarded Fellowship to Help Increase Faculty Diversity

Sept. 9, 2020
Chris Woodley • 

Third-year doctoral candidate Betty Wilson aspires to pursue a career as a tenure track professor. Last month, she was awarded a fellowship to help with her Ph.D. studies, dissertation, and future career.

Wilson received a one-year, $20,000 fellowship from the Southern Regional Educational Board-State Doctoral Scholars Program. She plans to use the financial support to complete her dissertation project, which focuses on the impact of police violence exposure on the mental health of Black people and their communities.

“I initially heard about the fellowship a couple of years ago, but (Ph.D. Coordinator) Dr. Maryah Fram reached back out to me this year and told me more,” Wilson says. “Dr. Fram; my dissertation chair, Dr. Terry Wolfer; and academic mentor and committee member, Dr. Nikki Wooten were instrumental in helping me apply for the award. I am also extremely grateful for the support from the College of Social Work.”

The purpose of the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program is to increase faculty diversity by helping minority Ph.D. students who seek careers as college professors. According to the SREB website, African Americans only comprise about five percent of college faculty nationwide. 

“It’s important for me to have received the award as a Black woman going into academia. The support and opportunities from the award will help prepare me for a successful career in academics,” Wilson says.

In addition to financial assistance and research funding, the Doctoral Scholars Program also provides mentoring, networking, and career counseling, which continues as recipients begin their careers as college professors.

“I am ecstatic and grateful to receive the award,” Wilson says. “I've put in so much effort over the years in the doctoral program, and this is another affirmation of my work. I am confident this award will help me complete my dissertation project and move towards my career as a tenure track professor.” 

Since its founding in 1993, the Doctoral Scholars Program has supported more than 1,600 scholars who have attended 107 institutions in more than 30 states.

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