Teachers of tomorrow

Five Tigers recently represented Mizzou at the SEC Emerging Scholars Career Preparation Workshop. Learn more about their experiences.

Oct. 11, 2023
Contact: Deidra Ashley,
Video by Mizzou Visual Productions

Students from all 14 Southeastern Conference (SEC) universities recently visited the University of Arkansas to participate in a three-day career preparation workshop. The symposium, part of the SEC Emerging Scholars Program, provides professional development and networking opportunities for doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars who are considering careers in higher education.

Read on to hear from the five students who represented Mizzou.

Blessing Ekene Okafor – Organizational communication doctoral fellow 

The SEC conference was an incredible experience, and I want to express my gratitude for being chosen for this competitive fellowship. The conference content was particularly relevant to me as I'm actively exploring job opportunities. What made it even more special was the chance to connect with fellow students from SEC institutions and engage in conversations with professors, deans, associate deans and provosts. These interactions were more than just professional exchanges; they were genuine conversations that offered me firsthand insights into what it's like to be a faculty member and to hold high-level administrative roles in academia. The conference was a treasure trove of valuable lessons that I believe will make a significant difference as I navigate my career path. 

Dennis Perez-Lopez – Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics doctoral fellow 

The SEC emerging scholar program supports my goal of pursuing a tenure-track position by providing me with the mentoring and resources to facilitate my transition into a tenure track faculty position. During the conference, I had the opportunity to make connections and learn about other SEC institutions. The most valuable takeaway from the workshop was to understand the importance of identifying an institution that fosters an environment that will help me achieve my goals, become a tenured faculty and serve the community around me. 

Ekaete Udoh – Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis doctoral fellow

I was ecstatic and honored when I was notified that I would be a part of this year’s SEC Emerging Scholars cohort. As an SEC Emerging Scholar, I have received significant support on campus to aid me in preparing application materials. The conference was also very beneficial. We had the opportunity to connect with other SEC scholars in different disciplines and to listen to informative sessions discussing the interview process. So far, I have found the SEC Emerging Scholars program to be invaluable.

Carey Kelley – History postdoctoral fellow 

Being selected as an SEC Emerging Scholar is truly an honor. The support provided by this fellowship creates the time and space for me to focus on professional development, improving my CV and getting published. The SEC workshop gave me the unique opportunity to network specifically with peers and representatives from other SEC member institutions, receive feedback on my job materials and hear expert advice on navigating the academic job market.   

Ann Obadan – Public affairs postdoctoral fellow

The program exposed me to life as a faculty from the perspective of new faculty members as well as those who have risen through the ranks to university administration across a variety of disciplines. Networking and learning about their diverse experiences reminded me to aspire for the zenith and be the change I desire to see in our academic institutions regardless of the challenges I might encounter. In all, I left the program fully equipped with a better job market portfolio and skills for the future.

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