Student Spotlight: Da'Shay Portis Templeton

DaShay Portis Templeton

Meet Da'Shay Portis Templeton, a doctoral candidate in Higher Education. We asked her some questions about her research, goals, and life here at the FSU College of Education. Here's what she had to say:


What are your research interests and why did you decide to pursue them? 

Critical Race Theory is crucial to animating the promise of social science to protect and preserve all children’s humanity. My critical quantitative research tests the extent to which Critical Race Theory explicates how material and ideological forces of white supremacy (in school criminalization) disparately impact oppressed schoolchildren. As the start of an early career line of research on racial and social stratification in public schools in America, my dissertation research prioritizes the historical and contemporary experiences of public schoolchildren socially classified as “Black,” “Hispanic,” and “gender nonconforming.” In this process, I leverage my lived experience as a former poor and policed public school student from Los Angeles to critically contextualize the quantitative data I’ve sourced on these schoolchildren against the reality of my own school childhood. Beyond my dissertation, I investigate the experiences of schoolchildren who are neurologically and neurodevelopmentally atypical, Indigenous, and two-spirits. With Critical Race Theory, I aim to test America’s public school promise of equal opportunity against its disparate treatment of oppressed school children. 


What made you choose FSU? 

After I completed my master's degree and teaching certificates at San Francisco State University, I began researching doctoral programs across the country that would prepare me for a research faculty career in education policy. Florida State University's Ph.D. program in Higher Education aligned perfectly with my research and career interests. FSU's College of Education has a renowned Educational Leadership and Policy Studies department with diverse faculty, research funding opportunities, and partnerships with the Florida Department of Education and the Legislative Analyst's Office. During Visiting Days, I was assigned a student mentor, Samantha Nix, who praised the FSU faculty and staff for supporting her during her pregnancy. Ultimately, I chose FSU because I knew the fully funded program would challenge me academically, prepare me professionally, and support my decision to grow my family.  


You recently received the AERA Minority Dissertation Grant and the Ford Foundation Dissertation Grant. Tell us more about these programs.  

White supremacy perpetuates the severe and long-standing underrepresentation of racially minoritized populations in the American professoriate. Both the American Educational Research Association’s Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicines Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Program aim to increase racially minoritized representation in academic appointments at leading research universities. Each highly competitive program understands that diversity and inclusion are resources that enrich the education of all students. Both the AERA and Ford fellowship programs provide financial support ($25,000 and $28,000, respectively) as well as professional development opportunities with previous fellows. It is my great honor to be selected for such socially just awards.  


What are your plans after you earn your Ph.D.? 

It is my greatest ambition to become a tenured faculty researcher at a leading university so that I can enact individual, institutional, structural, and systemic change in education through socially just teaching, research, and service. As a Black Indigenous Puerto Rican, a first-generation college student, and a disabled mother of three, I hold multiple socially subordinated identities. As such, I am well-positioned to educate the oppressed and increase their success in academia and beyond.


What advice would you give to a new student coming into your program? 

If you are interested in becoming a research faculty member, I’d recommend advisors who publish profusely in your areas of interest even if you have to find people outside of your department. I have been blessed with two amazing dissertation directors at FSU: Dr. Lara Perez Felkner from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Dr. James Wright II from the Askew School of Public Administration. If you are interested in securing grant funding, I’d recommend taking Writing in the Sciences with Dr. Susan Hellstrom. I’d also recommend Social Justice in Higher Education with Dr. Cameron Beatty, Prospectus Development with Dr. Patrice Iatarola, and Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research Designs with Dr. William Yeaton.