Education Doctoral Student Receives Fellowship for Potential to Contribute to Society

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Marquis Mason, an education doctoral student at UNC Charlotte, was recently awarded the Faye Jacques Memorial Graduate Fellowship, which was established in 2009 by the friends and family of Ms. Faye Jacques in honor of her tireless dedication to UNC Charlotte and graduate education.

Mason is a student in the Curriculum and Instruction program with a concentration in Urban Education. Full-time master’s or doctorate students who have demonstrated potential to make a significant contribution to society are eligible for the fellowship, with preference given to first-generation students.

“It is an honor to receive this fellowship to help with funding my Ph.D. studies. As a first-generation college student, I pride myself on making a positive contribution to society with the opportunities that I have been afforded. I know that there are many people like myself who have aspirations and great obstacles to achieve those aspirations. It is my goal to turn those aspirations into realities through my life work of education,” Mason said.

Before his time at UNC Charlotte, Mason was a middle school teacher in the Charlotte area. He also worked as a STEM instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, and went on to become an online instructor at Duke’s Talent Identification Program. Mason found a way to make a greater difference in the classroom inspiring him to go on to receive his master’s in middle grades education in 2013.

“As a Black male, I personally know the challenges of navigating the educational space as a teacher and instructional leader. In most of my experiences, I have been one of few Black male educators, whether it was as a teacher or instructional leader. I have also had limited experiences with Black male educators as a student, Mason said. “We know that nationally, Black males make up only 2% of the teaching profession and that there is much research in the recruitment and retention practices to increase teacher diversity. The UNC Charlotte urban education faculty stands out for their work in the area of teacher diversity which attracted me to the program. This program is preparing me with the knowledge needed in order to expand my reach in creating equitable opportunities for teachers and ultimately students.”

After receiving his doctoral degree, Mason plans to work in some capacity with teacher preparation by teaching at the university level for pre-service teachers or in leadership in K-12 schools.

Since 2016, Mason has also been an instructional coach with the UNC Charlotte New Teacher Support Program.

Mason received his Bachelor’s Degree from Winthrop University in 2007 in biology, he currently serves as a member of the Turning Point Academy Leaders in the Making Advocacy group, the senator of the Urban Educators for Change, and is a member of the Students of Color Affinity group, and co-editor of the Urban Education and Research Policy Annuals.