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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Homeless lady sets record at US university, becomes the first black woman to bag a doctorate degree

Despite facing the challenges of homelessness, Brandie Medina made history as the first-ever black woman to bag a doctorate degree at St Edward’s University in the United States.

Brandie, a 42-years-old woman bagged a doctorate degree in Education of Leadership and Higher Education program at St. Edward’s which is the first ever doctoral program of the university since its inception.

The doctoral program graduated six students and Brandie was the only black woman to earn the degree. The doctoral program was “designed to prepare students for success in the rapidly changing world of postsecondary education,” according to the university’s website.

Brandie who obtained both her bachelors and masters degree at Prairie View A&M University said she opted for St Edward’s University because she wanted to be an alumni of the institution just like her parents.

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“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 said.

“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,” she added. Brandie wrote her dissertation on “The Intersectionality of the Professional Black Woman in Education Administration.

Brandie stated that she faced several challenges trying to finish the program, but it was worth it to be able to join the “small sliver” of Black female doctorates from around the nation. 

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Brandie who has four children said she completed part of the program while living in a battered women’s shelter for several months and raising two teenage boys. Because the shelter did not have reliable Wi-Fi, she drove to a library on weekends to do her class assignments.

”I could have given up, but I knew that I wanted more for myself. 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,” she said.

She stated that tutoring other children as a young child, made her feel that her purpose in life was to pursue a career in education, where she believed she could make a difference by continuing to help educate and support the next generation of students.

Since then, Brandie has had a 20-year career in education, from working as a prekindergarten teacher in Houston’s Third Ward, a predominantly Black area, to her current job in administration.

Brandie is an early college administrator in the High Island Independent School District. She said she hopes the long journey to her degree will help her two younger children understand the significance of continuing their education and learn two important lessons. 

 

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