Monday, September 15, 2014

For Black Graduate Students, Does Pursuing an Advanced Degree Matter After Ferguson? (Vitae)

Unlike their white and Asian peers, black graduate students must grapple with how does their intellectual work matter when society views blacks, particularly black men, with contempt. Several black PhD students struggle with balancing their intellectual pursuits and urge to engage in activism -- service that could enhance their research and personal development as emerging minority scholars in academe. These concerns -- what does it mean to be black on campus and in America? should students ignore or fight against systemic racism? -- adds stress, anxiety, and fear.

Watching and reading about the killing of Michael Brown—followed by the indelible scenes of tear-gas canisters and armored tanks—she looked down at her research on theoretical cosmology and thought to herself: “I can’t do this.”

“Who cares about cosmic inflation during the first seconds of the universe’s existence when black people are getting shot left and right by police officers and vigilantes?” she remembers thinking. “I felt guilty. I wanted to go to Ferguson. I wanted to be a body in the streets and a barrier between the police and my people.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lifehack: 18 Things Mentally Strong People Do

I love this Lifehack.com infographic because I follow these principles in my personal and professional development. These are good self-care habits to follow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Race Still Matters and Divides America after Ferguson, MO

Everyday Sociology blogger and professor, Peter Kaufman, published an excellent post on the lingering effects (and invisibility) of race in America that unfolded after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Race often intertwines with class, affecting the type of schools we attend, the neighborhoods we live, and the types of jobs we can obtain. The mass media further divides this country when people from different races living in the same community don't see eye-to-eye on the same issue, as several Pew Research reports discovered. It is a travesty that Americans want to ignore race and white privilege, yet race continues to be the most significant factor in determining who gets ahead educationally and financially in the United States. Check out this informative blog spot:

Let’s be totally honest about the Michael Brown incident: it is all about race. When was the last time we read about an unarmed upper-class white male being killed by the police—much less by a Black police officer? How many predominantly white communities around the United States have a police force comprised predominantly of officers of color? And when unarmed white men or women are shot by the police, are there ever public opinion polls to even ascertain if race is significant?

To think that the case of Michael Brown (or Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Anthony Dwain Lee, or any of the other unarmed Black males who were fatally shot) is not about race is to be oblivious and ignorant about the social, historical, and political landscape of the United States. Since its very beginning and continuing to the present day, our country has been shaped, scarred, and defined by race. This is a basic sociological premise. As a sociologist, I’m grappling with how so many people can lack this elementary understanding of the society in which we live.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Washington Post: Why Sally can’t get a good job with her college degree

Welcome back to classes! As you navigate your way through the fall semester (or quarter), focus on your academic and professional goals.

This article in the Washington Post examines the realities of college graduates who cannot find work in their field, particularly women who make up 60 percent of all college graduates in the U.S.

Poor Sally. She has spent tens of thousands of dollars and four long years to get her college degree and has $26,000 in student loans to pay off, yet she can’t find a job that puts her degree to good use. Sally and her parents may be asking whether college was “worth it.”

Sally epitomizes many of her fellow college graduates who wonder why college graduates can’t find good jobs.

The experts give all sorts of explanations for Sally’s plight.

One of the most perplexing and frustrating explanations is that Sally is over-educated....

This analysis leads to a final reason why Sally can’t get a good job with her college degree.

She has the wrong degree.

Students with traditional liberal arts degrees frequently find themselves underemployed, while students with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have little trouble finding good jobs in their profession. Nine out of the top 10 least underemployed majors are in STEM (law is the exception).

Women, however, aren’t studying STEM. Biology is the only STEM degree among the top 10 most popular bachelor’s degrees for women, and it comes in slightly above English language and literature as a preferred degree. Moreover, women aren’t making up for this gap by studying science and technology in graduate school — not a single STEM subject makes it among the top 10 master’s degrees for women.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Freep: The State of Charter Schools in Michigan - Corruption, Insider Dealings, and More

The Detroit Free Press has released a special investigation report on the state of charter schools in Michigan. Since the early 1990s, public charter schools have spread across the state as a solution to provide options for low-income and minority children attending failing schools. Michigan also has more charter schools operated by for-profit companies than any state in the country. As a result, for-profit educational management companies care only about the bottom-line. Until 2012, the state legislature refused to create a system of efficiency and accountability that would have prevented scams, corruption, insider dealings, nepotism ("family and friend plan"), tax evasion, and other illegal/questionable tactics. Click on the infographic below for the overview.