APSA Ralph Bunche Fund: RBSI Alum Shares Success Story

The Ralph Bunche Endowment Fund supports the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, which encourages students from under-represented racial or ethnic groups to pursue academic careers in political science. RBSI’s program enhances writing, research, and analytical skills, develops statistical skills for data analysis, exposes participants to the significant questions in the discipline, and introduces participants to leading political scientists.

Nadia Brown, now an Associate Professor at Purdue University, is a prior Ralph Bunche Summer Institute participant. She shared the impact that participating in RBSI had on her career aspirations:

12-22 Brown_Bunche PictureParticipating in the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute is the reason why I am a political scientist. This was my first exposure to the professoriate. My involvement with RBSI experience provided an opportunity for me to truly understand the importance of knowledge creation. Without this program, it is doubtful that I would have entered a graduate program in political science.  I am thankful for APSA’s dedication to cultivating a pipeline for minority scholars.

My interests in Black women’s political participation was primed through my undergraduate courses at Howard University and solidified at RBSI. It was RBSI where I wrote my first research paper that included original data analysis. This paper used data from the National Black Politics Study (1993) to examine if race or gender consciousness was more important for Black women voters.  The skills I learned at RBSI were a crucial foundation that enabled me to be successful in graduate school at Rutgers University. The knowledge gained at RBSI and connections that I made through the program have helped me to produce innovative scholarship on Black women political elites.

The invaluable mentorship from Paula McClain and program alumni is what sustained me through graduate school and through my years on the tenure track. I am indebted to this community of scholars for their support. Furthermore, my RBSI peers have proved to be a constant source of encouragement and inspiration.  Now as a tenured professor, I remain grateful for their friendship. The RBSI program has created a network of scholars who have become my academic family. It is this sense of community that provides countless intangible benefits that are necessary for students and scholars of color to become successful political scientists. Moreover, I am extremely thankful to be afforded the opportunity to serve as mentor for current RBSI student and younger cohorts of alumni who are either in graduate school or on the tenure track. My efforts as a recruiter for underrepresented minority students for our political science department at Purdue University has been tremendously rewording. I am thankful that my university and department head, Rosie Clawson, are committed to investing in RBSI and strengthening the pipeline of URM students in political science. — Nadia Brown

For more information about RBSI, please visit www.apsanet.org/rbsi.

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