GWS Spotlight

Graduate Student Spotlight on Francena Turner

2/10/2016  8:00 am


Short Bio:  Francena Turner is a mother of three and a Ph.D. student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership concentrating on the history of education. She holds an Ed.M. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a B.A. in History from Fayetteville State University, and an A.A.S. in Respiratory Care and an Associate in General Education from Fayetteville Technical Community College. She is passionate about issues of food justice and spearheaded a team that founded a farmer’s market in a food desert in her hometown of Fayetteville, NC. Her current research focuses on the counternarratives of African-American women at co-educational HBCUs during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Campus Movements. 

What is your Graduate degree major? I’m a Ph.D. student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership.  Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies

Why are you minoring in GWS?  I am minoring in Gender and Women Studies because I saw, early on, the ways Black feminist and queer theories could inform my academic and community organizing work. 

What are your academic and/or career interests? Professorship and/or research 

Any conferences, publications or other news that you've worked on recently? I presented work entitled  “Intrinsic Motivation in Pre-Service Teachers” at the Sixth Annual Pacific Rim Conference on Education held in Thailand during last semester.  It was amazing and it was my first time leaving the United States.  

What have you enjoyed most about GWS? I enjoy being introduced to seemingly tough material and having that a-ha moment, sometimes days later, when it all makes sense! 

What has been your favorite class in GWS and why? I’ve only taken one official GWS course and it was very enlightening! I look forward to the courses yet to come. 

What do you do outside of class? Outside of being a mother, I co-founded Students with Families with fellow EPOL Ph.D. student Lisa Perez and I am a member of our local Black Lives Matter chapter. I don’t know if I ever seem to feel like I am outside of the classroom though.


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