Nicole M. Joseph, an assistant professor in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, has developed the Sistah Network, an organization that acts as a support group for Black women graduate students at the university.
The organization was formed in January 2013 with 15 members. Today there are more than 90 people involved with the program, including students, faculty, and alumni. The group meets two or three times each quarter to talk about academic issues and to discuss members’ personal and professional accomplishments and goals. The network also includes Black professional women from the Denver area who can act as role models and mentors.
Dr. Joseph says that “we try to problem-solve together on how you navigate the system — working with professors, working with committee members, issues in the classroom, not feeling like you have to speak for the whole race,. Or, ‘how do you challenge your peers and/or your professor in a way that doesn’t feel threatening?’ You should be able to say whatever you want to say, but we know the reality is that there can be consequences if you don’t navigate.”
Dr. Joseph is a graduate of Seattle University. She holds a master’s degree from Pacific Oaks College Northwest in Seattle and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Washington. Her current research focuses on the mathematics education of African Americans at historically Black colleges and universities during the period of Jim Crow segregation.