Ph.D. student in Political Science, Dean's Diversity Fellow
Darry Powell-Young is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in political science at Wayne State University, originally from Chicago. He is a WSU Dean’s Diversity Fellow and a 2017-2018 American Political Science Association Minority Research Fellow.
What do you enjoy most about living/going to school in Detroit?
I love where I live in the downtown area of Detroit. There is an eclectic mix of people and things to do.
What has been your most meaningful experience or area of growth as a graduate student?
Learning collaborative skills and interdisciplinary study has been a significant area of growth for me as a graduate student. I have also survived colon cancer twice. The second time interrupted my graduate education as I had to take a break from school. The experience taught me to be appreciative of each day of the little things in life. It also motivated me to not procrastinate in following my dreams and goals but to pursue them now.
What is your current field of study/research? What’s been your most interesting insight, significant accomplishment or research breakthrough?
My current research is on urban education, particularly in Chicago. I am interested in school-city administrative dichotomy of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs and the social and political implications of the lack of enough minority students in these programs. I also research the academic success and political viability of urban school districts that are controlled by its mayor, like Chicago and New York City.
What motivated you to pursue this field of study?
I have always been interested in and passionate about public education. I taught 11th and 12th grade Social Studies/History for four years in public schools in Chicago, where I realized the racial disparities in the education system.
How do you envision your career after your degree?
I hope to become an education policy strategist, Chief Performance Improvement Officer, or the Director for the Office of Civil Rights, both with the US Department of Education.
How has the fellowship supported or enhanced your scholarship at WSU or experience as a graduate student?
It has allowed me to not worry about finances, and thus focus more on my research and completing my degree, producing my best possible work—in my research and teaching.
What advice would you have for current or future Ph.D. students at Wayne State?
Be mentally prepared for graduate school, especially for a Ph.D., and stay committed. Also, do not shy away from consulting with faculty/advisors/colleagues. One also develops great friendships in graduate school. I was recently part of a panel discussion at a university in Chicago, and my master's cohort showed up to support me. This was a pleasant surprise for me!
Interview by Christine Nyawaga