Executive Letter, January 2023

Brooks photo

Moving into 2023, I am enthusiastic about the year IRT has ahead. Our IRT Scholars submitted their applications for graduate school, and we could not be more proud of them. We are grateful for the support of the IRT staff, external advisors, and IRT alums who aided and supported the process. 

As our Scholars continue to navigate the admissions process with interviews and preview days, the IRT begins to open ours. Our alums continue to recognize prospective educators and to ensure we have the representation of future scholarship we need. Applications are open until March 1, so please share the application amongst your networks. If you would like to review the IRT application process or to share application resources, please visit our application page.  

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IRT 2022 Cohort News

Congratulations to the entire 2022 Cohort on their perseverance over the past few months. More than 700 graduate school applications have been submitted, and while it is still early in the process to receive admissions decisions, we are happy to report that a few schools have already begun notifying IRT Scholars of their acceptance!

IRT Scholars are now working with advisors on strategies for staying organized and the proper etiquette for communication with graduate schools over the next months as they await admission decisions. On average IRT Scholars are applying to 7-10 graduate programs. Approximately 90% of IRT students receive acceptance into at least one graduate program. Information on the demographics of the 2022 Cohort can be found on the IRT’s Impact page.

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Associate Director & Manager of Programs Letter, January 2023

Greetings IRT Community! 

The beginning of a new year and the midpoint of the academic year is often a time for introspection. As I begin this post three words come immediately to mind – reflect, reimagine and reinvigorate. 

As I reflect on my time at IRT thus far, I feel fortunate to have the vantage point of experiencing IRT in several different realms from being a higher education partner as part of the Consortium of College and Universities, selected as Consortium chair and now hired as an IRT administrator. As a higher education partner I was deeply appreciative of how prepared the IRT scholars were for critically engaging with their academic discipline, navigating the nuances of graduate school life and exuding the confidence to fully be themselves even in the face of challenge. As Consortium chair, I was excited to work alongside the IRT leadership and higher education partners to create a collaborative environment. Though competition was a function delegated to our roles, it did not solely define our relationships. Several of us acknowledged that we could only accept a finite number of scholars into our programs, so why not learn more about what each other had to offer with regard to programs and support. In this way, we kept the focus on the scholars and how best to advise them about their aspirations. Now having the purview of being part of the IRT team, I see first hand the dedication, time and energy that goes in on the back end to adapt to the changing educational landscape and align support for our BIPOC scholars that elevates equity, expands knowledge and emphasizes wellness all while preparing them to apply to graduate programs. 

From these multiple perspectives with IRT the following questions come to mind for me. Given all that has happened in these past three years, what has changed or remained the same for you?  How many of you have changed jobs and/or institutions? Has your ‘why’ for doing this work shifted? How do we chart a pathway forward for change in the midst of injustice and resistance? I feel a deep dive into these questions will allow IRT stakeholders to set a course for reimagination. Reimagining a future whereby students in our classrooms are taught by highly qualified teachers as the norm not the exception, who reflect their lived experiences and who believe in young people’s brilliance from the onset, whereby being ‘smart’ is defined beyond being book smart but also by one’s cultural and community wealth (Yosso, 2005) and whereby liberatory design (Anaissie et al, 2021)  guides instruction and curriculum development. 

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Recruiting IRT’s Next Cohort

IRT Application Deadline – March 1, 2023
The IRT is accepting applications for scholars planning to attend graduate school in the fall of 2024.

To help prospective applicants learn more about our application process, the IRT has created a short webinar series, which details our admissions process. We strongly encourage all interested applicants to attend or listen to all four of these webinars. IRT staff will provide insight on how we evaluate candidates and what constitutes a strong applicant.

Are you an IRT Alum interested in how you can help with recruitment?
We recently sent out an alumni email, but if you didn’t receive one then please email us for information on how you can host your own information session at your university or other ways to share the word about the IRT !

IRT helped me in invaluable ways throughout the grad school application process; I would like to pay it forward to the next generation of scholars now that I am faculty at a university.

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IRT Presence Virtually and On the Road

Interacting with students and colleagues has always been a strong area of focus for the IRT. These past few months have kept our team busy on the road as many regional events begin to expand their formats to include in-person sessions. The IRT has taken these opportunities to connect and further the discussion of shared experiences and mutual goals with educational and community partners across the country.

IRT Alumni on the Move at the UNCF/Mellon Programs Conference

Answering the Call to Transform the Academy
UNCF/Mellon Programs Conference: October 6-8, 2022
Atlanta, GA

IRT Education Programs Specialist Leislie Godo-Solo, IRT ’91 attended the UNCF/Mellon Programs Conference in October, where she also gave a presentation about IRT programs to new Mellon Coordinators and caught up with IRT alumni who were guest panelists during the two-day event.

Renee Johnson-Thornton, IRT ’05
Senior Program Associate and Associate Director of MMUF at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was one of the guest speakers during the Conference Opening titled “Answering the Call to Transform the Academy.”

George Pratt, IRT ’22
A current senior at Morehouse College, Pratt participated on the Mentee/Mentor Relationship panel during the UNCF/Mellon Programs Conference in Atlanta. George accepted the Marshall Scholarship while working with the IRT this fall and will pursue his MPhil at the University of Oxford.

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