Brandie Medina made history on Friday at St. Edward’s University by becoming the first Black woman to get a PhD from the university since it was established 145 years ago.
As part of the first cohort to finish the university’s first-ever PhD program, the 42-year-old was joined by six other students, according to the American-Statesman. According to the school’s website, the curriculum was created to help students succeed in the quickly evolving postsecondary education industry.
One of the university’s former students is Medina’s father. Her father attended St. Edwards University where he received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees. Her mother also graduated from the institution with a bachelor’s degree.
For her undergraduate and master’s degrees, Medina attended Prairie View A&M University, but her desire to complete her doctoral degree at the university where her parents received their education propelled her to enrol in St. Edward’s in the autumn of 2019.
“It’s not really highly expected of Black individuals to go to predominantly white institutions, so for both of my parents to finish their degrees there, and to go off and become highly successful, that resonated with me,” Medina told American-Statesman. “It showed me that by going to St. Edward’s and finishing my doctorate degree, as long as I persevere, I can be highly successful as well.”
The intersectionality of the professional Black woman in education administration was the topic of Medina’s dissertation. In the High Island Independent School District, which is close to Galveston, Medina is an early college administrator. To aid pupils in succeeding, she decided to pursue a profession in teaching. She has worked in the educational field for 20 years, beginning as a preschool teacher in Houston’s Third Ward and progressing to her current position as an administrator.
She overcame several obstacles while getting her PhD because she was a mother of four and was living in a women’s shelter. She said that the Wi-Fi at the shelter she resided in was so inconsistent that she had to travel to a library on the weekends to do her coursework. Medina had the option of giving up, but she was conscious of her need for more.
“I knew that I wanted more for my kids. I knew that, if I were to give up, I’m going to end up right back where I started. I’ll still be a classroom teacher. There would be no growth in giving up.”