Marketa Burnett is a second-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology Graduate Program at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Her research interests include the development of racial and gender stereotypes and how that impacts the educational outcomes of African American youth. Additionally, she is interested in how parents’ racial socialization messages and behaviors impact stereotype endorsement and later STEM outcomes.
1. What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree because I was interested in so many questions that I could not find the answers to in my textbook. I realized that if I wanted to get these answers, I would have to do the work myself. With the guidance of the Ronald E. McNair program, I was able learn about the possibility of getting a doctorate and studying things I was so passionate about.
2. What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?
I may be biased, but I honestly believe Chapel Hill is the southern part of heaven. As an UNC alum, I was aware of the support I would receive both as a scholar and a person that I could not pass up. I asked on many of my visits to other programs about their initiatives for students of color and no school could match what UNC was doing, especially with programs such as the Initiative for Minority Excellence.
3. If you had any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, what would it be?
Find your passion and GO for it! I think it is so easy to talk yourself out of it because you don’t think you are good enough or ready enough. But what I found is that if you love it and you are passionate about it, that will speak volumes over any and every part of your application. You belong! Your ideas can change this world if you let them.
4. What are your career aspirations after you’ve completed your studies?
After graduation, I would love to become a professor at a research university continuing my research while also teaching a variety of classes. I think it is important for undergraduate students to see more faculty of color in general, but especially Black women. I can count on one hand how many I encountered in undergrad and I would love to help be a part of that change.
5. How will your Carolina degree help you make a difference in the world?
I honestly believe that Carolina is giving me the best training possible. I have amazing mentors and access to an abundance of resources to ensure that I am able to produce both high quality and high impact research. It is within my research that I hope to bring light, context, and nuance to some of the understudied concepts in our field, especially within underrepresented populations. I hope one day that the research I have done will help contribute to the continued growth and development of women and people of color in STEM fields.