The Ebony Tower is an academic thought collective designed to generate dialogue around the experiences of young scholars of color. In particular, we are interested in naming the issues that impact the success and well-being of academics of color and offering resources and advice to overcome those hurdles. The Ebony Tower will serve as a safe space to read and share stories of struggle and triumph, to gain insight about navigating academic spaces that may be socially and intellectually stifling, and to learn about the work of rising and established scholars of color. The site will feature personal narratives, resources, spotlight of impactful and thought-provoking scholarship, and advice addressing all aspects of graduate life – from applying to a program to landing a job.
The Ebony Tower hopes to serve as a source of inspiration and support for academics of color who seek to survive, scale, and thrive within the ivory tower.
A native of Chattanooga, TN, Daphne is a third year doctoral student at Harvard University. Before pursuing her PhD in Education, Daphne taught elementary school in Atlanta, GA and subsequently became interested in examining how race, class, space shaped the educational opportunities of students from minority and lower-socioeconomic backgrounds.
Daphne’s desire to develop The Ebony Tower as an online community for current and future scholars of color was motivated by both her personal experiences navigating various institutions of higher education as a first-generation college graduate and her professional and academic commitment to bridging the gap between scholars of colors and the communities they study and serve.
When she has writer’s block or is simply procrastinating, Daphne enjoys reading material completely unrelated to her research, binge watching epic TV shows, cooking, and playing poker.
Rachel is both co-editor and resident anthropologist at The Ebony Tower. As a first generation Haitian-American from New York, Rachel has always had an interest in storytelling, culture and transnational experiences. She hopes to bring this desire to The Ebony Tower through engaging scholars of color throughout the Diaspora to share their narratives and experiences and to encourage scholars in the US to consider working abroad as well.
Rachel is currently completing her PhD at American University in Washington DC. Her work looks at religious influences on community service initiatives in Northeastern Brazil. She enjoys spending hours in local bookstores, going to carnivals (i.e. the Caribbean & Afro-latino variety) and a hot yoga class to a Jay-Z playlist.
Whitney is a mental and behavioral health professional specializing in work with children and adolescents. While working in urban public schools, Whitney developed an interest in issues related to educational social justice, racial and ethnic inequality, and the impact of discrimination on academic and social development of young people.
As a co-editor of The Ebony Tower, Whitney is an avid reader, consumer of the arts, champion of self-care, and big proponent of the healing powers of narrative sharing. Whitney is a current PhD student at a private, northeastern research institution.
Aria S. Halliday
Aria S. Halliday received a B.A. in Africana Studies from Davidson College, a M.A. in American Studies at Purdue University, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies at Purdue University. Ms. Halliday’s research focuses on Black American and Caribbean women artists and filmmakers, issues of identity (such as race, class, gender, age, and sexuality), and the ways in which visual, material, and social media culture shape Black girls experiences from a Black feminist perspective. She’s the founder of Women of Color in Grad School, a Facebook group dedicated to supporting and creating community with graduate women of color across the academy. Follow her on twitter for grad school tips and pop culture commentary: @Queen_Diva6.
Eddie Kim is a second year Ph.D. student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His primary research interests include the validation and tailoring of statistical models for the education context, and the role and effects of private institutions in the realm of public education.
Jeraul Mackey is a scholar and an improviser. When he’s not making people laugh on comedy stages throughout Boston, you will find him doing serious research at Harvard University. He studies organizational behavior, nonprofit leadership, and executive labor markets. Before becoming a PhD student, Jeraul spent many years as a consultant and policy specialist in nonprofit and corporate settings.
Kristia Wantchekon is a rising second year student at a private northeastern university studying adolescent development and literacy acquisition. Before beginning her PhD, Kristia taught 4th and 5th grade English in New Orleans, Louisiana, and worked a Project Manager for an economist who studies education. This work helped to cement her interest in struggling adolescent readers, academic motivation, and culturally responsive social emotional and academic interventions.
As both an oldest child and a New Yorker, she loves telling people what to do, so she looks forward to offering her guidance on the Ebony Tower advice column. When she’s not giving advice, she’s often watching sports, reading, dancing, making up songs, and being thankful for Beyoncé.
Dana Muñíz Pacheco
Dana is a third year Anthropology Graduate Student at Temple University. Her research focuses on Dominican youth of Haitian descent, and how language socialization practices nuance and influence the ways in which human rights and violence is understood and resisted through organizations and religious groups. She is interested in developing a series of personal narratives about race and identity, comparing her experiences at her field site to her experiences in the US.