Two SREB-DSP Graduates inspire students outside the classroom

Tags: Ph.D., community service, inspiration, students, Doctoral

In Kentucky, Dr. JaSREB-DSP Graduate Jamie Fishermie Fisher is teaming up with her 2001 high school class to create a one-stop-shop for college-bound students. Many students at her alma mater cannot afford to take the ACT exam or adequately prepare for it, but Fisher with the help of SREB, is looking to change that. Meanwhile in Alabama, Dr. Shawanda Thomas will partner with a local high school in Birmingham, Alabama to expose 12 to 16-year-old girls to new ways of learning mathematics and female STEM professionals. The goal being to instill confidence in girls who face an industry that is overwhelmingly male.

The Alumni Give Back Project

Central High School is located in inner-city Louisville, Kentucky and serves students that are from low socioeconomic statuses. The school has a reputation for preparing students for college and professional careers, and Fisher's tenure inspired her to want to expand those services for current students. In October of this year, her graduating class will celebrate their 15-year reunion. However, it will also double as a "career/job fair" for current students. Fisher, and her classmates will offer advice oSREB-DSP Graduate Shawanda Thomasn navigating college, vocational school/career training, online mentoring, resume editing and an ACT Scholarship award contest.

Girl’s I.M.P.A.C.T. Project

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2009-10, females made up less than 25 percent of participants in STEM programs nationally. Thomas would like to use the summer program to address the numbers of female role models in STEM careers for the middle and high school girls in Birmingham, Alabama. Participants will meet once a week over six weeks to hear women that are currently in the field, and be exposed to the accomplishments of minority inventors. Thomas is seeking out high need areas so that the program can reach those that may have never seen a female pursue a career in STEM.

Fisher is a graduateGirl's I.M.P.A.C.T. Project logo of Vanderbilt University who majored in hearing and speech sciences, while Thomas attended the University of Alabama with a major in mathematics. They are both using their experience to reach back and inspire the next generation of college and hopefully Ph.D. graduates. They are also the recipient of the SREB-DSP Service Grant Award that gives two SREB graduates a $1,000 grant to broaden the educational horizons of K-12 students.


SREB and the Institute encourage graduates to continue to support their communities. Get creative! Involve friends, family and classmates. Know that no effort is too small. If you have a story of how you helped your community after graduation, we want to hear about it! Email

Also, if you would like to donate to help SREB-DSP continue to fund these types of projects visit our donate page!