Chapter 2 - The First Year of Graduate School: Navigating the Hurdles

Christy L. Erving, Ph.D
photo of Christy L. Erving, Ph.D

Dr. Erving was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and aspired from a very young age to be an attorney, which prompted her to attend a law magnet high school in Dallas. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Erving lost her passion for studying law when she participated in an undergraduate study abroad program in the Dominican Republic and saw firsthand the health needs of its socially disadvantaged population. She became very interested in issues of race, immigration, and health inequalities and subsequently graduated from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Hispanic studies. She then enrolled in the doctoral program in Indiana University’s Department of Sociology, where she is focusing on medical sociology. Dr. Erving is teaching and writing her dissertation, which examines the co-occurrence of physical and mental health problems across various racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Lauren J. Parker, Ph.D
photo of Lauren J. Parker, Ph.D

Dr. Parker was born in High Point, North Carolina, and later moved to Manassas, Virginia. The oldest of three, she is a natural born leader and has always had a passion to help others. A product of the Prince William County educational system, Dr. Parker attended Hampton University to complete her undergraduate studies. While at Hampton she majored in sociology and participated in the Ronald E. McNair Program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, as well as both the Summer Research Opportunity Program and Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate (AGEP) Summer Bridge Program at Purdue University. Although her first love will always be sociology, Dr. Parker earned a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in community health at Purdue University and completed a PhD in health and kinesiology/gerontology at Purdue.

Jamelle K.P. Williams, Ph.D
photo of Jamelle K.P. Williams, Ph.D

Dr. Williams was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. She attended public schools for most of her life until she began her collegiate career at the prestigious Tuskegee University. After completing her degree at Tuskegee, she enrolled at Purdue University to obtain her PhD in chemistry. Her time at Purdue can best be described as painstaking, yet rewarding. She successfully finished her PhD in chemistry and is currently working for a research company in Alabama. Her ultimate goal in life is to give back to her community.

Sean A. Colbert-Kelly, Ph.D
photo of Sean A. Colbert-Kelly, Ph.D

Dr. Colbert-Kelly received his PhD in mathematics from Purdue University. His dissertation work involved conducting research in the area of calculus of variations as applicable to Ginzburg-Landau-type functionals. Originally from Maryland, he attended a national blue ribbon high school where he participated in the science and technology program. He later attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and was a participant in the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program. Dr. Colbert-Kelly has always excelled academically and striven to participate in competitive programs that would take him to the next level. While at UMBC he discovered his love for mathematics. He is currently working as a mathematics researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, conducting research in fluid dynamics and interfacial rheology.

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