Class of 2014: Three Years After Her Son Graduated from Curry, It is Carmen Foster's Turn


Carmen Foster, Ed.D. in Social Foundations of Education
Dissertation: Tension, Resistance, and Transition: School Desegregation in Richmond’s North Side, 1960-63

Carmen FosterCarmen Foster is experiencing a second doctoral graduation at the Curry School of Education.  Her son, Kenneth Warren, graduated with an Ed.D. in 2011, during which time it was noted that “two generations of women before Warren were not allowed to study at the University of Virginia. His great-aunt, Alice Jackson Stuart, was denied admission to graduate school in the 1930s because she was African-American, and his mother, because she was a woman, was unable to attend U.Va. as an undergraduate in 1969.”  With encouragement from her son, Carmen applied to the doctoral program in Social Foundations at the Curry School.

Why did you come to the Curry School?
I consider myself a life-long learner. The Curry School was a natural fit for me to pursue doctoral studies after working almost two decades in higher education and leadership development at Harvard Kennedy School, the Jepson School at University of Richmond and the Grace Harris Leadership Institute at VCU. The interdisciplinary focus of Social Foundations provided me with multiple perspectives to explore the nexus of leadership, education, and the history of social justice in our society.

What is unique about your journey to or your journey while at the Curry School?
My son, Kenneth Warren, and I were classmates in Bob Covert’s Qualitative Methods course. It was great having him as a study partner.

If you can name one person, who at Curry made a special impact during your studies and how?
My advisor, Professor Derrick Alridge, provided guidance and mentorship to cultivate my scholarly endeavors. I learned to delve deeper into archival research and primary resources, to hone new skills and gain confidence as an educational historian.

Also, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) is an awesome consortium of educational leadership departments representing over ninety universities. I worked as a graduate assistant for UCEA. Their network is a hidden jewel at Curry, and I did not expect to meet and be exposed to the research of so many outstanding faculty from across the nation through UCEA.

What will you be doing next?
I’m returning to Richmond as a project and program consultant to non-profits and educational institutions. I expect to continue the research that resulted from my dissertation and to publish scholarship using both traditional and new media methods.