Fanta Aw, Ph.D.


I knew Dr. Lewis and her passion for education so when I was getting ready for my dissertation Dr. Lewis and I reconnected. I was experiencing major writer’s block, feeling overwhelmed, and had not made any progress on the proposal for several months. I had no motivation and was ready to give up. I decided to join SisterMentors instead to give the dissertation one last try before giving up. Within a few months of joining, I identified a research question, wrote my proposal during the Summer of 2006, and in December 2007 defended my proposal and became ABD (All But the Dissertation) –- this meant that I was very well on my way to earning my Ph.D. which I received in 2010.

I love that as women doctoral students we have an obligation to prepare the next generation. I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing young women in SisterMentors and to witness their transformation. I love getting the annual newsletter and seeing mentees’ recent accomplishments — it fills me up with pride that our contribution as mentors was part of a young woman’s success. As for the mentors, we have created unbreakable bonds that were built during writing retreats and reading each other’s work and giving feedback. It is important to hold on to your dreams. To not give up, one must find people to uplift you in moments of self-doubt whether it is a friend or a program like SisterMentors. I apply this concept every day in my professional life — how can I reach out to someone and uplift them? I owe Dr. Lewis a debt of gratitude for her vision and tireless work. I know that is a labor of love and it has truly impacted many lives, including mine.