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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured


Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.


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Introduction: Inception of the DIVA Collective (Cherrel Miller Dyce, Toni Milton Williams, and Torry Reynolds)


Introduction: Inception of the Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (DIVAS) Collective Cherrel Miller DyCe, Toni MilTon WilliaMs, anD Torry reynolDs The Courage By Cherrel Miller Dyce The beating of my heart reached a rhythm that produced an unsteady gait My eyes became enlarged as I search the openness for your presence Unconsciously we connect in shared silence with our pain as our thread How could this be, this should have never happened, overflowing sorrow Gather ourselves to a place in the spirit; gather ourselves to the plains of tomorrow Victory is upon the horizon, the sun leading us onward to glory Not now, not ever will we succumb Never will we relinquish our grace, hopes, our joys, our heritage Call yonder for our courage, as we press onwards for the sisters of tomorrow. There is myriad research recently conducted about the success of Black wom- en who are completing graduate programs. According to Holmes, Land, and Hinton-Hudson (2007), “the journey to higher education for many Black women has been long and arduous” (p. 106). The extant research literature is saturated with studies discussing doctoral student experiences. Studies have highlighted the role of social and cultural expectation (Golde, 2000), margin- ality (Gay, 2004), and identity development (Gardner, 2009). While African Americans only account for 14% of those enrolled in post-baccalaureate study, 65% of all doctoral degrees conferred to African Americans are earned by Black women (Aud et al., 2012). These studies are foundational because they intersect the current crises in doctoral...

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