AUGUST 22, 2022 BY MARGARET SAVOIE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI GRADUATE SCHOOL
The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars and Dissertation Scholars Program has a main goal to encourage more racial and ethnic minority Ph.D. students to seek careers as faculty on college campuses. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2020 nearly half of all college students are not from the white, non-Hispanic category. But this fraction is not mirrored in college faculty. To help change this, the SREB Doctoral Scholars are afforded many benefits such as financial support, career counseling, networking, and opportunities for research funding.
The University of Mississippi’s Graduate School is fortunate enough to have approximately six Institutional SREB Doctoral Scholars at any one time, with each scholar being part of the program for three years. In addition, starting in 2022, the Graduate School funded one student to be an SREB Dissertation Scholar, which enables the student to participate in similar professional development programming as they complete their doctoral degree. This latter opportunity is especially useful for students who may not have considered an academic career when they first started their doctoral program but who now have goals that align with broader aim of increasing capacity for underrepresented minority students to learn from individuals whose backgrounds may mirror their own. Among the current year’s doctoral program scholars is Diego Fleitas, a newly named SREB Scholar.
Diego Fleitas, is a doctoral student in the Department of English and UM’s newest SREB Doctoral Scholar. Fleitas’ studies focus on Early Modern Literature. In the future, Fleitas hopes to become a professor. To Fleitas, being an SREB Fellow means a great deal and he is thankful for the many wonderful people he has had the opportunity to meet. When asked about what he wants people to know about the SREB program, Fleitas said, “We look forward to making waves!”