The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

Global Ambassador: Nokwanda Grava

Nokwanda Grava is from South Africa and the United States. At Purdue, Nokwanda is pursuing her PhD in Counseling Psychology in the Educational Studies department.

Ambassador Q & A (Questions and Answers)

Nokwanda Grava

Why did you choose Purdue?

I was drawn to Purdue because of the strong reputation and because of the work done by the faculty in my department.

Please briefly describe your research.

My research interests include indigenous African conceptions of healing and wellbeing, community-based participatory research, and emic research as a tool for decolonization.

How did you decide what to study?

Counseling psychology was my major as an undergraduate at the University of South Africa, and I chose this path because I wanted to be able to advocate for the mental health needs of vulnerable children and families.

What was your process for selecting a graduate school?

When I applied to Purdue, I was already enrolled in a masters program at Michigan State University, so I was already living in the US. That allowed me to travel to different programs and interview and get to see the campuses. Purdue’s resources were the most attractive to me as a grad student.

Where do you spend most of your time on campus?

I spend most of my time in Beering Hall.

How did you decide where to live?

Finding off-campus housing takes persistence, but there are always new things coming on the market even in the peak times of the year.

What does your travel from home to Purdue look like?

It takes 4-5 flights and over 24 hours door-to-door to travel each way. There is a nonstop flight to South Africa from Atlanta.

How do you de-stress in your free time?

There are lots of parks in the area, and I like to go on hikes. The Celery Bog Nature Area in West Lafayette is particularly nice.

How do you keep yourself organized?

Organization is essential in grad school, and I do my best to have multiple backup systems. I primarily use a to-do list and a dry erase calendar, but my phone and computer also have calendars and reminders where I place all my deadlines.

What are you hoping to do after you graduate from Purdue?

I hope to return to South Africa so that I can teach and conduct research.

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