Any time a Black woman earns a doctorate degree, its worthy of celebration. But in the case of the “Great Eight” – eight Black women set to graduate with doctorates next month – that accomplishment is also historic.
Jada Phelps-Moultrie, Shannon McCullough, Johari Shuck, Nadrea Njoku, Tiffany Kyser, Jasmine Haywood, Demetrees Hutchins and Juhanna Rogers make up the Great Eight, forging a sisterhood as they march towards their academic goals in tandem.
While the women of the Great Eight have varying degrees of educational focus, the purpose of their journey is a testament to Indiana University’s School of Education working diligently to promote diversity within its student body.
Ms. Rogers said in recent profile piece that the formation of the collective came as a response to how Black men in the program enjoyed the support of educational initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper and how Black women in education were being frozen out. When Rogers and Ms. Njoku met at an academic conference some years ago, they decided to formally support other women who wanted to earn their doctorates as well.
While Indiana University has graduated one or two Black Ph. D students from its Education program in the paste, the record-breaking moment from the Great Eight was bolstered by higher enrollment and outreach as well.
Congratulations to the Great Eight!