UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization

UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization

2017-2018 UM McKnight Fellows
By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos

2017-2018 UM McKnight Fellows

UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization

By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos
Building community to bring underrepresented minority Ph.D. students together

Motivated by a strong sense of community, the UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization initiated its second year with a McKnight Fellows Fall Reception at the Shalala Student Center and a clear mission of creating infrastructure to support their fellows.

The UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization was founded in 2016 for fellows of the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program, which provides financial and academic support for African American and Hispanic Ph.D. students in Florida. “The idea of community is very personal and important to me,” stated Rhoda Moise, Ph.D. Candidate in Prevention Science and Community Health at the Miller School of Medicine and President of the UM McKnight Doctoral Fellows student organization. Moise expressed that the long-term vision of the organization is to develop a concrete infrastructure to support UM McKnight Fellows through their Ph.D. programs. Relying on that sense of community, the organization will leverage the knowledge that seasoned doctoral students can offer to each other and to newer students, and leverage its affiliation with the Graduate School to tap into resources and opportunities for its Fellows.

In collaboration with the Graduate School, the McKnight Fellows have recently developed a mentorship program, which matches each Fellow with social mentor. The purpose of this social mentor is to work with the Fellow on “big picture” issues related to career and professional competencies and opportunities. Together, the student’s academic advisor and social mentor will provide each Fellow with a comprehensive support system throughout the student’s graduate school journey and hopefully beyond. “It truly takes a village”, added Moise. “There is an African proverb that says ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to get far, go together.’ This is truly our vision”.

Moise was part of the group of students who, along with the Graduate School, led the group’s incorporation. “We saw an opportunity to create community through a UM student organization especially for McKnight Fellows. Graduate student responsibilities are very demanding, so Ph.D. programs can be very isolating. I knew that creating a McKnight Family within UM, as other schools also had, would make the journey in graduate studies easier for all of us,” she explained.

Moise pointed out that the organization’s current goal is to enable growth by increasing the number of McKnight Fellows at UM. She encourages all undergraduate and master students who are interested in an eligible doctoral program at UM to apply for the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program.

Funded by the Florida Education Fund, the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program addresses the under-representation of African American and Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities in the state of Florida by increasing the pool of citizens qualified with Ph.D. degrees to teach at the college and university levels. Up to 50 Fellowships are awarded annually to African American and Hispanic students to attend one of nine participating Florida universities, one of them being the University of Miami. Eligible doctoral programs include any discipline in the following fields of study: Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Nursing, or the Visual and Performing Arts. Fellowships are especially encouraged in Agriculture, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Marine Biology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

Current UM doctoral students in these fields, though not eligible for the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program, may apply for the McKnight Dissertation Fellowship, which provides support for doctoral students working to complete their dissertations.

For more information on the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and the McKnight Dissertation Fellowship visit the Graduate School’s Costs and Funding section or the Florida Education Fund’s webpage.

To view the photo gallery of the McKnight Fellows Fall Reception, click here.