Spotlight: Graduate Ambassador Tracy Boyce
Below she talks about her takeaways from the ambassadorship and what she's looking forward to this year.
What are your biggest takeaways from being an ambassador last year?
My mother, grandmother, and several aunts and uncles were teachers, so education was important in my family. When I was elementary school, I knew I was going to college — even though I wasn’t quite sure what or where it was — because my mother told me it was a requirement. As soon as I earned my bachelor’s, she was pushing me to pursue a master’s. When I received my master’s, she asked me when I was returning to earn a doctorate. While graduate education was emphasized in my family, I realize that this is not the case in every family.
A few months ago, I was talking about life after graduation from college with one of my mentees. We discussed potential career paths and a few master’s programs. I encouraged her to consider doctoral programs, which led to a conversation about the differences between master’s and doctoral degrees and what it is like to be a doctoral student. She admitted that she had heard people talk about Ph.D. programs, but she had never thought about pursuing doctoral studies because she did not know what it entailed. That experience underscored the importance of continuing to raise awareness about the graduate education and its benefits, particularly among middle, high, and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups.
Why did you decide to return, and what are you most looking forward to in the program this year?
I enjoy being a graduate ambassador because it provides me with an opportunity to share my academic journey and love of learning with others. I hope discussing my experiences inspires others — particularly young people, BIPOC individuals, and those over 50 — to consider earning a graduate degree. It is never too late to learn something new or to chart a new course.
I also appreciate being part of the graduate ambassador community. Being a graduate student can often make you feel isolated, so it is good to connect with others who are on the same journey. It has been comforting to talk to other Ph.D. students about preparing for qualifying exams, defending a dissertation proposal, finding participants for research studies, or other issues. It shows me that no matter what subject we are studying, we have similar experiences, and we can encourage and support one another along the way.
What are your research interests?
My research is focused on Black women who are digital entrepreneurs and educators. I explore the design decisions they make as they create digital learning products. Much of the current research examines the decision-making processes of individuals who are formally trained instructional designers. My goal is to learn more about how individuals who do not have degrees in graphic design, instructional design, or teacher education make decisions when developing digital learning products and to see what we can learn from them about designing instruction for virtual learning spaces and developing design solutions that addresses specific needs of users. Because there is also a dearth of literature about Black women in digital entrepreneurship and in instructional design, I hope to lift the voices of Black women content creators and educators and document their contributions to the practice and profession of instructional design as well as to encourage young people of color to consider pursuing careers in instructional design.
Other WSU affiliations
I mentor undergraduate students through two programs at Wayne State: the PwC Multicultural Professional Readiness Education Program, which is for students in the Mike Ilitch School of Business, and the Success for Underrepresented Students in Graduate Education program, an initiative of the Graduate School that supports students from underserved backgrounds who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees.