Doctoral student Michole Washington earns Ford Predoctoral Fellowship

May 02, 2019

Educational Studies doctoral student Michole Washington has received a Ford Predoctoral Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. Through its fellowship, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. The fellowship provides three years of support for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Science (ScD) students.

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Michole Washington is a dual-degree student pursuing her master’s in Applied Mathematics and PhD in mathematics education. Her doctoral advisor is Maisie Gholson. Her research focuses on Black students' mathematical identity development in non-traditional classroom settings (e.g. summer bridge programs). In 2016, she graduated from Georgia Tech as the 9th Black Woman to earn a BS in Applied Mathematics. Washington’s research relates to the systemic issues in supporting Black students to become engineers, computer scientists, medical professionals, and hold other careers in the STEM field. She will be investigating Black students’ lived experiences in non-traditional mathematics classrooms, as she looks to uncover what specifically leads some students to become successful in these spaces.

Her career goals include becoming a mathematics professor and education researcher. She also wants to leverage her research to continue developing STEM programs through her company, Afrithmetic, to further educate and support low-income K-12 Black students with college aspirations. She aspires to serve as a mentor for Black students to combat challenges they may face when they encounter minimal representation of professors of color across a university.

“The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship will allow me to continue to support Black students through my research, teaching, and service,” said Washington. “It is evident from my past that I am supposed to use my experiences as a resource for enriching the education of Black students. My fate was not supposed to fit the narrative of broken opportunities and misplaced potential. As a Black woman, mathematician, and doctoral student, I am supposed to shift the narrative. So, here I am.”

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