Freedom. Talk with any recipient of the Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellowship and you’ll hear that word.
The usual scenario for graduate students — the Clark Fellowship is awarded to grad students only — is study full-time, work half-time to pay for school and take out big loans to pay for rent, gas and food.
“Teaching takes up a lot of time,” current Clark Fellow Latoya Lee, PhD '14 says. “You have to create a syllabus. You have to grade papers. You have to have office hours. You have to be in the classroom. It takes away a lot of time from your research.”
By receiving the Clark Fellowship, Lee, a PhD candidate in sociology, has more time to write about her specialty: reproductive technologies and how they’re transferring to other cultures, especially India. She can dig deeper into the library. And she can present her work at conferences, networking with the major players in her field.
But Lee isn’t the only one helped by the Clark Fellowship. So is Binghamton University.
Research shows that institutional diversity enhances student growth and development in the cognitive, affective and interpersonal domains. These benefits are felt not just by students from minority groups, but by the student body as a whole because diversity opens issues up to be examined from multiple angles, exposing students to new ideas and providing them deeper understanding.
“You can’t override the importance of meeting people from other cultures, from around the world,” says former Clark Fellow Jasper Chiguma, MS '05, PhD '09. “You learn how they live, how they were educated, how they think. And that enriches you because you become familiar with ideas and approaches that are different. And that makes you better at what you do.”