Student Spotlight May 2014

    Jelisa Clark









    Jelisa Clark graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.  She then went on pursue a MA in sociology at the University of Louisville and is currently working towards a PhD in sociology.







    What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    The opportunity to study sociology and be close to my family.

    Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    My areas of research include race, poverty, and education.

    How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother?

    My master’s thesis was on the HOPE VI program, the federal grant program that has been used to revitalize public housing.  I interviewed a selection of local stakeholders and government officials in order to investigate how well the goals of local officials align with the stated goals of HOPE VI in the case of Liberty Green in Louisville, KY.  I found that the goals of the local officials were not necessarily in conflict with the goals of the federal program, but two major components of HOPE VI, neighborhood development and impact on residents, are in constant tension with one another.  I am currently working on a project with my faculty mentor, Dr. Derrick Brooms, on race, profiling, and stereotyping.  For my dissertation I would like to research exclusionary discipline practices, such as suspensions and expulsions.

    What made you go into this field of study?

    I was drawn to sociology because of the opportunity to address the many social problems that exist.

    Awards, honors, publications:

    Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholar

    Graduate Teaching Academy

    Editorial Assistant, The Griot: The Newsletter of the Association of Black Sociologists

    Brooms, D.R., Clark, J.S., and Goodman, J.M. “We Need More of This”: Engaging Black Men on College Campuses.  College Student Affairs Journal (Under review)

    How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

    It is my hope that my research will impact future policy regarding poverty and education.

    Long term goals/ aspirations:

    I would like to receive an academic appointment at a R1 research university where I continue my work on race, poverty, and education.

    What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

    I am most proud of being awarded the SREB doctoral scholar fellowship.

    What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

    My favorite part of graduate school has been being able to work with the wonderful faculty members in the sociology department and all the opportunities for professional development that the university provides.  I also can’t complain about the wonderful athletics program and graduate student season tickets.

    What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

    I think that the greatest challenge for graduate students is time management and managing stress.  Whenever I’m feeling stressed I step away from whatever I’m working on and give self-time to clear my mind.

    Family life:

    I have a ton of nieces and nephews that I love to spend time with.  They give me a chance to act like a kid again.



    Fun Facts

    A talent you have always wanted:
    I’ve always wanted to be able to sing like Whitney Houston

    Favorite  Book:The Queen’s Fool by Phillipa Gregory

    Favorite quote:
    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Role Model: Michelle Obama

    Favorite Vacation Destination: Any beach

    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Not stressing about all the papers I have due.