Shona N. Jackson, Ph.D.


After completing my course work for my doctorate at Stanford University, I relocated from California to the Washington, D.C. area. A few months later I returned to campus to defend my dissertation proposal. After a successful defense, I assumed that it would be a simple process of just writing the dissertation. However, being away from school and my community of friends and advisers proved difficult. Through word of mouth, I found out about SisterMentors but could not join for a year. While on the waiting list I achieved little work on the dissertation. Shortly after joining SisterMentors, however, I began to meet goals set for myself. One of the most valuable aspects of the group is the goal setting, which helped me to see and approach my work in more manageable ways.

Being a part of SisterMentors allowed me to find not just a group of people working on the dissertation, which was very important for me as someone far away from campus, but it also allowed me to be part of a group of women of color helping each other achieve the same goal. I also had the amazing opportunity to mentor young girls of color and encourage them to continue seeking success through education. Through the group, I had the wonderful experience of presenting on the TransAfrica Forum panel, “Black Women of Africa and the Africa Diaspora World” along with Dr. Shireen Lewis and Dr. Codou Diaw. The panel was truly a moment in which SisterMentors women were able to not only offer each other support, but also combine that support with activism on a broader scale.

In SisterMentors I was encouraged by a group of caring women and had the opportunity to encourage others as well. The lessons about perseverance that I learned from SisterMentors women stayed with me and carried me through. These are the lessons that I take away from the group and hope to continue to share with other women.