Today we feature Rowan Global student Erica Watson Brown, who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Rowan. Learn more about her journey, research focus on urban studies and insights on work/life balance.
Full-time Rowan employee, Erica Watson Brown, is currently in her second year of earning her Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Urban and Diverse Learning Environments. On top of her doctoral and full-time work, Erica is also a mother and a wife. She is interested in civil rights relating to education, which is evident in her research on diversifying the teacher workforce.
Having the ability to balance family, work and school was an important factor for the timing of when Erica would pursue this degree. Erica grew a strong interest in Rowan’s Ph.D. program four years ago when she attended an information session. There she asked if it was possible to do the program part time, and they told her not at the time. Erica had been working as a teacher full time in South Jersey, and at that point Erica thought the timing was not right. She said she “wasn’t going to drop any responsibilities in her life.”
Fast forward a few years later, and Erica landed a job at Rowan University as the Program Coordinator for Elementary Education. After working at Rowan for about a year, she decided it was time to look into the Ph.D. program again. For a number of reasons, she decided that this was a good time to go after the degree.
Erica’s concerns about having enough time for all her responsibilities were definitely warranted as she describes the most vital aspect of graduate school is time management. When asked about this, she explained: “The one thing that is the most challenging is all of the reading you have to do. There is a massive amount of information you need to know about different theorists because it will then inform your research at some point in time.”
Erica’s research focuses on diversifying the teacher workforce. This is an issue that hits close to home for her because she went to a school where she was “one of two women of color.” She went on to say she had many good friends and meaningful relationships at school, but it was not always easy.
“Oftentimes I felt like I was the voice of people of color,” Erica explains. “As a woman of color I have certain insight into situations that relate to social justice.”
Her research is extremely prevalent today since it has been made clear there are questions about race that must be asked in every aspect of American life. Erica seems passionate enough about this subject to institute impactful change.
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Luke Garcia, junior music industry major