Master’s Degree Graduate Moving on to Ph.D.

WNMU alumna Andrea Robinson, who was accepted into a Ph.D. program at the alma mater of WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard.

© Western New Mexico University

Partway through Andrea Robinson’s undergraduate program, she suffered a stroke. She moved closer to family, and her degree was put on hold. At some point, a doctor told her she would not finish her bachelor’s at WNMU.

She didn’t. But she did finish her degree remotely, and this spring, she also graduated from #WNMU with a master’s, customizing her degree plan to suit her interest in educational psychology.

The Clarksville, Mississippi, native recognized some similarities between her home town and Silver City but also noticed that there isn’t much research available on small rural towns, which essentially “make up the USA,” Robinson said.

She wondered, “Is there an association between social determinants of health and academic performance in marginalized communities within higher education?” and then methodically searched for the answer.

She looked at self-regulation and related metacognitive strategies to explore how where people come from impacts their education. She realized that people within marginalized communities may not have formed their possible selves yet because they’re concentrating on their environment. “When students are in that bubble without resources, it’s hard to advance yourself,” she said.

But resources are something Robinson was able to tap into at WNMU, a minority-serving institution that prides itself on serving first-generation college attendees and nontraditional students.

Making the most of every opportunity available at WNMU, Robinson conducted the research she was passionate about and received Student Research and Professional Development funding to attend an academic conference. Most recently, she was accepted into a Ph.D. program at the alma mater of WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard: Florida International University.

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