Celebrating Black History Month: Dwayne Tucker

February is Black History Month, an important time dedicated to honouring the achievements and contributions of Black individuals throughout history. While it’s important to acknowledge and learn from our history and legacies of racial discrimination, it is equally important to broaden the narrative and highlight the richness of accomplishments. 

Dwayne Tucker

Dwayne Tucker: Advancing Equity, Striking a Balance, and Fostering Student Empowerment (EMRGS initiative) 

Dwayne Tucker is a PhD candidate in Philosophy in Women+ and Children’s Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, studying the clinical and molecular prediction of adverse outcomes in endometriosis. 


What was a moment that made a significant impact on your growth as a student at UBC? 

“A significant moment in my academic journey was winning my first competitive academic award in Canada. While academic supervisors may emphasize that our value as trainees isn't solely determined by our success in grant applications, from the student perspective, such recognition provides a sense of validation that helps alleviate the imposter syndrome many of us experience. This initial recognition was especially important for me as an international student.” 


Project highlight: EMRGS initiative 

“One of the most meaningful initiatives I was involved in was the Effective Mentorship of Racialized Graduate Students (EMRGS) initiative, generously funded by the UBC Anti-Racism Initiative Funds and Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS). This initiative holds special significance for me due to its direct contribution to addressing existing mentorship gaps for racialized graduate students. The project not only provided a platform to amplify the voices and experiences of this community but also generated actionable recommendations to enhance mentorship practices. Witnessing tangible outcomes that could contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable academic landscape has been immensely fulfilling, reinforcing the importance of such initiatives in shaping positive change and improving the UBC experience for all students.

Moreover, I co-spearheaded this initiative with another graduate student, Negar Khodarahmi, with immense support from Dr. Theresa Rogers, Kelli Kadokawa, and Emi Sasagawa. These individuals were instrumental in cementing the vision of the initiative from the outset and made my experience working on this project as enjoyable as it was impactful.” 


What strategies have you found helpful in balancing your academic responsibilities? 

Planning ahead for the week: “I've found it beneficial to set aside one day each week, typically on Saturdays, devoted entirely to social and recreational activities. Although it might initially induce a sense of guilt, I remind myself that this period in graduate school is unique—a time in my life that I will never get back. Therefore, I aim to ensure a holistic experience. Creating balance becomes a priority, and I emphasize the importance of setting boundaries, even in seemingly minor aspects." 

Realizing it’s okay to say ‘no’: “Especially when a request or task goes too far beyond your core responsibilities or trajectories, or when the ‘yes’ imposes on your well-being. These practices significantly contribute to maintaining a healthy and sustainable routine throughout the demanding academic journey for me.” 


Any advice for incoming students or students of colour?

“My advice is to start by building a solid support network. Whether it's connecting with existing communities, joining groups that champion students of color, or forming relationships with faculty and mentors, having that support will be your anchor.”

“UBC is a rich mosaic of perspectives and backgrounds, and as you contribute to this vibrant fabric, seize opportunities to explore diverse cultures and expand your horizons. Be your own strongest advocate; if challenges arise, don't hesitate to seek assistance or express your concerns. UBC has robust support systems in place, committed to ensuring your success.”


We will be posting more profiles of Black graduate students throughout the month of February. Visit our Black History Month page to learn more.

Monday, 12 February 2024