Doctoral Mom Incorporated issues scholarships to deserving mothers enrolled in doctorate programs. Our scholarships are funded primarily through donations.
Doctoral Moms experience a tremendous amount of financial and social hardships during their programs. Our mission is to lessen those barriers and help future generations gain access to academic, career, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
With your help, we can make a larger impact.
Meet Ji Ma
I am an international Ph.D. student with two children in the Language and Literacy program at Georgia State University. At the age of 35, I decided to study abroad to pursue my master's degree after working as an English educator for 12 years in China. And I started the Ph.D. program at the age of 38. My son was 15-month old when I first came to the United States and my daughter was born when I was working on the Ed.S. degree and applying for the doctoral program. It was not easy for being a doctoral mom, however, it is even harder for being an international student from a traditional patriarchal Chinese family. The primary challenge I am facing every day is the questioning from my parents, parents-in-law, and relatives who believe that women should do a stable job and take care of their children, husband, and parents once they get married. For many people around me, I am too old and rebellious to study abroad and pursue a doctoral degree. Thus, I feel social isolation and disconnect from my roots.
The second stress is the financial constraints. As an international student, there are limited working choices because of visa requirements. My husband is not allowed to work as a student’s spouse. Therefore, our four people’s income is my stipend working as a graduate assistant (GA), which is between $500 to $1,500 per month. In addition, I need to pay for the student fees, mandatory insurance, and textbooks. I am lucky that I can do breastfeeding, otherwise, I am not able to afford powdered milk. The financial stress is also from the uncertainty of GA positions since the funding opportunity is not assured. As a doctoral student in the field of education instead of STEM or computer science, we have limited funding resources. So the challenge is to find funding and GA positions every semester. Therefore, the Doctoral Mom could not be more helpful for the summer that I have no funding resources at all.
When I get the doctorate degree, I would like to use my knowledge and experience to help more language educators like me who dare to challenge the social norms of defining women’s roles. Female educators, especially those who came from a traditional Asian culture, should have the opportunity to pursue their educational and career goals. I plan to work as a professor in teacher-preparation programs where the majority of pre-service teachers are female. I will use my writing, classes, and presentations to advocate that women’s lives cannot be restricted to sacrificing themselves to serve families, such as their children, parents, and husband. As a female educator who needs to overcome multifacet challenges, I believe that my growth in pursuing a doctorate degree in a foreign country could inspire more women like me to step out of their comfort zones and fulfill their dreams.
More Ways to Give
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