Kangbai Konaté, Ph.D.


I am extremely pleased to write this letter about my experience with SisterMentors. I am very happy to say that in May 17, 2002, I successfully defended my dissertation, thus, becoming SisterMentors’ fourteenth Ph.D. I was awarded my doctorate with highest honors in Sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. Moreover, I was advised to publish my dissertation as a book in both French and English by my dissertation committee made up of distinguished scholars.

This major accomplishment was made possible primarily because of SisterMentors. It is phenomenal that, given SisterMentors limited resources, the program has still managed to help 14 women of color, including me, to get their doctorates in the 5 years of its existence. I am very thankful for the very supportive and nourishing environment this outstanding and exceptional program provides and from which I received great benefit during almost two years.

When I joined SisterMentors I was doing very little work on my dissertation and was trying to find new inspiration that would help me get back on track. Not only did the group help me finish but it also made me aware of the need to make sacrifices in order to reach my goal. Thus, time management became crucial to finishing the last few chapters of the dissertation. The program also helped me set realistic short- and long-term goals toward completing the dissertation.

Mentoring girls of color was one of the most important activities I did, not only as a member of SisterMentors, but also as an individual. Through mentoring, SisterMentors, as a group, is significantly impacting the lives of young girls of color who are at-risk of dropping out of school. I believe it takes generosity to give back to one’s community as much as I believe it is empowering to know that one’s very modest contribution is the beginning of change in somebody else’s life. Helping young girls to understand the value of education is extremely satisfying.

I believe in the power of this program to change lives, as my life has changed by finishing my dissertation, which I began six years ago and as I see the difference we are making in the lives of the girls we mentor. Also, I have recently become a member of EduSeed’s Board of Directors to further my commitment to SisterMentors’ philosophy of promoting education among women and girls of color.