Admission Season Perspectives

IRT Arts & Sciences Specialist Brittany Zorn, IRT ’13 and Education Specialist Leislie Godo-Solo, IRT ’91 share their thoughts with IRT Scholars.

The first couple months of the New Year is always my favorite time of year- and no, it’s not because I’m an Aquarius Sun or because New England winters are the prettiest of anywhere (ok not JUST because of these things). The start of the New Year is my favorite time of year because it is admissions season!

For IRT scholars, the first six months of their IRT engagement is rigorous and time consuming; conducting school list research, making connections with graduate school folks, curating application materials, and crafting close to a dozen quality statements of purpose keeps scholars busy from June through December. Admissions season is the time when all that hard work pays off and scholars begin to see the fruits of their labor in the form of invitations to interview or visit campus and offers of admission. It’s always a season of some uncertainty and great celebration. The shock, joy, and relief that students often feel when the offers (and the dollars!) start to roll in is something I am grateful to share in each year.

While admissions season brings lots of exciting news, it also comes with a new set of stressors. Through the pre-application season, scholars are often most concerned with packaging themselves legibly to graduate programs- the emphasis is always on the scholar seeking approval (admission) from these graduate programs- but the post-application season introduces a new dynamic. Once an offer has been extended the power of approval (accepting an offer or not) is shifted into the hands of the scholar. After months of scrutinizing program websites, scouring faculty profiles, and drawing insight from one-to-one conversations so that they might be judged worthy of entry into a program, scholars are now faced with determining whether these institutions are in fact worthy of THEM.

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Alumni Accolades, March 2023

Dr. Aria Halliday, IRT ‘11 spoke at the University of California, Berkeley on a panel called “On Erotic Mastery: Pornography, Hip Hop Feminisms, and Transness” on March 1, 2023. The panel was hosted by Dr. Peace and Love El Henson, as part of the Black Studies Collaboratory Open University spring symposium.

Current UC Berkeley Ph.D. student Paul Salamanca, IRT ’18 attended the event and is pictured with Aria above.

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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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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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Alumni Accolades, January 2023

Brittney Yancy, IRT ’03
Brittney holds a masters degree in U.S. History and earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History last year from the University of Connecticut. Brittney is currently an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Illinois College.

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