Daysha Lawrence estimates by the time she is 31-years young, she will have already completed her doctoral studies in educational research and policy analysis at North Carolina State University. Ambitious would be an understatement if one attempted to describe this budding scholar who first graduated from Fayetteville State University in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in sociology and again in 2003, with a master's degree in sociology.
Since receiving her degrees, the Ph.D. candidate has already embarked on a successful career in education having taught in both public schools and post-secondary institutions, including FSU. In addition to teaching, her love for research landed her prior positions as a research aide at Duke University and a research associate at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Daysha's service at Duke was most inspirational because it sparked an interest in HIV/AIDS research; as a matter of fact, she is crossing her fingers, hoping that the recent submission of her first article is accepted into a scholarly journal. Her article, "Young Adult Perspectives on Parental Disclosure of HIV/AIDS", focuses on reasons young adults have for wanting or not wanting to know the status of a HIV/AIDS positive parent.
Daysha explains that she is getting a head start on publishing because she knows that is what is expected of a tenured research professor. She states, "It is incumbent upon me to engage in scholarly research while in school because once I am finished not only will I be an expert in my field but I will also have to teach research skills to others. For those reasons the motivation to engage in and most importantly complete your doctoral program is intrinsic".
As rough as it sounds, Daysha is basking in the world of academia. She affirms, "I love sociology because it is about society and the individuals who make it. It allows you to step outside the box and view the world from so many different perspectives. It also provides you with a skill set that you can take to any social science discipline. If I had to go back and do it again, I wouldn't change a thing...The sociology degree has given me the opportunity to find my niche, which I have come to realize is educational research."
Daysha credits the matriarchs of her family for her sensibility and tenacity. She says her mother, Patricia Talbert has always been in her corner, but it was also an extra push from her grandmother, Rosemary Lawrence, who influenced her to keep going with her studies.
The Terry Sanford graduate says, "My grandmother is just ecstatic about everything I have done. I would not be in school if it weren't for her."
Finally, she attributes her educational experience at FSU to her wealth of knowledge, and even though she wants to relocate to Washington, DC or New York to engage in research, she will only make that stay temporary.
She elaborates with an extraordinary affirmation, "I want to come back to Fayetteville State and teach...As you can tell, I love my HBCU. That's the distinction between graduates from HBCUs and graduates from other schools. Too often, we don't come back because we feel like we have to prove our education is just as valid as anyone else's. Fortunately, I am just as confident and competitive with my degrees from FSU as anyone from Duke, UNC, or anywhere else, and I look forward to helping instill that same sense of academic accomplishment in future generations of Broncos."
Undoubtedly, this confidence beams through her unwavering Bronco Pride.