June 29, 2020 [View Image]Daisy Matias holding a bouquet of flowers
Daisy Matias, a recent graduate of GSWS and Art History, has had dreams of attending graduate school since her freshman year at VCU. Although the discipline she intended to pursue evolved over her college career, her determination to be the first in her family to attend graduate school as an indigenous, Mexican-American woman drove her to explore her options. Coming from a low-income family, the process of applying for graduate school and navigating the financial barriers of application fees and GRE costs were daunting. In 2019, when Daisy considered herself “lost within the graduate school search”, she met Dr. madison moore, who introduced her to new ways of thinking about her ultimate goal of completing a Ph.D. program and being a tenure-track professor.
After being introduced to American Studies and Performance Studies programs, two interdisciplinary fields that would accommodate her research on how performance relates to the healing of Latinx migrants’ trauma, Dr. Moore told Daisy about the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, a program which Moore went through himself. This program is dedicated to diversifying the field of education by aiding multiply marginalized students in applying to graduate school. This is done through a combination of application fee waivers, discounted GRE prep, one-on-one advising, and advocating on behalf of IRT graduates. After hearing of their mission and the assistance it promised, Daisy was immediately interested in the program and applied with Dr. Moore’s help and was accepted some months later. “When I received the email I was elated. Being accepted into a highly selective program like the IRT, a program with such high matriculation rate, made me feel hopeful for the future, a feeling which is rare at times like this.”
Although this program will be entirely remote this year due to COVID-19, the Associate’s Program that Daisy will be completing this summer is always conducted remotely and she remains hopeful for the future. “I look forward to the mentorship I will receive the most, as I owe my success thus far to the professors who mentored me through undergrad”, she says, “While being a teacher is truly only a small part of being a professor, I do look forward to one day mentoring young scholars of color in the same way that my professors have mentored me. I have been lucky to have many professors who have gone above and beyond in this way: Dr. madison moore, who helped me realize the right graduate path for my research interests; Dr. Matilde Moros, who taught me that the best place from which to derive scholarly material is my own lived experience; and Dr. Kathleen Chapman, who convinced me that I am, in fact, worthy of a career in academia.”
The IRT's goal is to address the lack of diversity in the nation's teaching facilities and the program is highly competitive. Read more here.