Black Women doctoral students experience the journey as “outsiders within” (Collins, 1986), navigating how to excel and thrive while being on the margins (hooks, 1991). The authors of this manuscript reflect upon the impact of adopting a culturally relevant methodology and method, integrating various forms of Black Women’s art, and challenging tenets of traditional western research. An auto-ethnographic exercise illuminated the critical need for Nathan and Love to insert their Black Womanhood into their dissertation research process using Sista Circle Methodology, an active decision to decolonize research. Carlson provided a critical link to ensuring Nathan and Love graduated and provides her reflective learning about the methodology, methods, and advising Black Women using a Black Feminist lens.


decolonizing research, doctoral education, advising, qualitative methodology

Author Bio(s)

Dr. B. Nathan (she/her)’s background as a Higher Education administrator spans 20 years. She has now brought her talents and expertise to the nonprofit sector. Dr. B. developed her passion and skills in DEI bringing folks together to engage in awareness, action-oriented, and reflective work spanning such topics as power, privilege, race, gender, inclusion, equity, and intersectionality. As a proud Black lesbian Woman, she chooses to make her multiple identities a part of every conversation. Simply, we cannot engage in any type of leadership or change if we are not aware of who we are, where we come from, where we are now, and who we want to become. Please direct correspondence to bethelanathan@gmail.com.

Dr. Rashida Love has built a 20-year career in higher education with a focus on equity, inclusion, and social justice. Her research highlights on the experiences of Black Women in both professional and academic roles within the academy. Dr. Love currently serves as the inaugural Director of the Sisterhood Initiative at the University of Washington where she has the awesome pleasure of supporting the academic, personal, and leadership development of women of color undergraduates from across all disciplines at the University. Dr. Love can be contacted at rlove1@uw.edu.

Dr. Laurie A. Carlson holds a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree in school counseling from Western Washington University. She is the co-editor (with Suzanne Duggar) of the 2007 book, Critical Issues in Counseling Children published by the American Counseling Association. Dr. Carlson’s teaching duties include school counseling, counseling internship, and psychological and educational assessment. Research interests include school counseling/climate, counseling children and adolescents, measurement, and LGBT issues in school counseling. Honors and awards include Tenured Faculty Service Excellence Award, School of Education, Colorado State University (2013); Finalist for Advocate of the Year Award, Colorado School Counselors Association (2012); Tenured Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, School of Education, Colorado State University (2009). Leadership positions include Post-Secondary Vice President of the Colorado School Counselor Association (2010-2014) and currently serves as a national trainer for the APA/CDC DASH Safe and Supportive Schools Project. Dr. Carlson has made over thirty-five national and regional presentations regarding school counseling related issues and provides consultation/support services to school counseling programs across that state of Colorado. Her professional experience includes thirteen years of experience in public schools, four of those years as a K-12 school counselor in Minnesota. Dr. Carlson has been a faculty member at CSU since 2000.

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