Why I Can’t Talk About My Dissertation: Thoughts on Equity in Graduate Education

November 1, 2023

ESED Seminar, November 3, 2023, at 11:15 am-12:05 pm. 

Completing a doctoral degree in engineering is hard. Completing a doctoral degree in engineering as a nontraditional, atypical, or otherwise marginalized student can be burdensome. My journey through graduate education has been one of my most dynamic life experiences to date and I continue to engage in the process of sensemaking daily. I pursued graduate education with the hopes of developing skills and producing work that would help improve the experiences of other marginalized folks in engineering. Along my journey, I began to question the feasibility of my goals. Now as a postdoctoral associate, I continue to grapple with a looming question, How do I avoid becoming a cog in the Diversity, Inc. machine? Referring to the billion-dollar business of”diversity initiatives” to which we all contribute. The purpose of this talk is to critically examine the pursuit of equity in graduate education through the lens of my doctoral journey.
Bio: Teirra Holloman, a South Carolina native, is a postdoctoral associate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech where she helps to manage an NSF-funded research project focused on equitably transforming graduate education in the College of Engineering. Teirra received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education and M.Eng. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. While at Clemson Teirra was heavily involved in the PEER office and credits her trajectory in higher education to the support of this office. Her research interests broadly include organizational resilience; organizational change; and equity, and inclusion issues in engineering and global
education programs.
For more information, contact Paige Zoltewicz at