The Diversity & Inclusion Task Force (DITF) Webinar Series was created to interview audiologists and audiology students from a variety of backgrounds to hear their perspectives and experiences throughout their education and careers. On Thursday January 28, 2021, the DITF posted their first interview in the series featuring Dr. Ianthe Dunn-Murad. During the interview, she talked about her experience as a student and shared some advice for current students and new professionals. For the full interview check out the SAA Facebook Page.
Dr. Ianthe Dunn-Murad is a clinical audiologist with over 20 years of experience ranging from hospital settings to university settings as well as schools for the Deaf. In addition, she also has a background in global hearing healthcare in which she has participated in many mission trips to promote humanitarian audiology. Currently, she is the audiology clinical program coordinator for the Long Island AuD Consortium in New York.
Q. What is your advice for graduate students struggling with being the only BIPOC in their cohort?
A. Find a supportive network. It doesn’t have to be within your cohort. It could be anywhere within the university. It could be outside of your department or outside of the academic setting. I was also very active in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. To me those relationships were very important in helping me get through some of those difficult days where all you want to do is just throw your hands up and give up. But it’s important to seek a network. It’s important to really talk about your feelings. At times, being the only person of color, whether it’s in the classroom or in a professional setting, gives you an overwhelming sense of isolation and makes you feel uneasy and alone. And so I think it’s important to really talk about those feelings. You’ll be surprised that a lot of times, people are willing to listen and offer some help. But sometimes they don’t know how to help and/or they don’t know how you’re feeling. Mentorship and support comes in all colors and I think it’s important to let your feelings known and establish that network for yourself. That’s going to help get you through those difficult times. I think it’s a lot easier now in 2021. You have all of these social media groups. It’s a beautiful thing. All of these spaces that are created for special interests, special groups that you have, it’s very important to go ahead and look for that for yourself and put those things in place to help you.
Q. What recommendations do you have for BIPOC students looking for mentorship in their graduate studies and as they transition into their career?
A. Ask for it, that’s it. You need to make it known. There’s nothing more important than expressing your needs. If you have come across a preceptor, a professor, an advisor, someone that has played an influential part in your life and your growth; there’s nothing wrong with circling back to that person and asking for the help or mentorship. I think it’s important to create lasting relationships and build a network with your classmates, professors, or people in your professional space. It’s very crucial. Get yourself out there. Once you start your clinical rotations, it’s important that you maintain and build those professional relationships. It’s not a one-time rotation and “bye see you later.” Our community is small and there is a lot that can be shared. I think it’s very important that students become receptive to the help that is offered by their mentor. I know I personally reach out to several students that may be in need of a mentor and sometimes that student will not get back to me. And so I shrug my shoulders. We all have a lot of demands, but I think it’s important to take up those offers from individuals that want to help. I think it’s important to make your needs known. Establishing the rapport and relationships and most importantly staying in touch. If something comes up, at least you have an open line of communication to get the information or support that you may need at that time.
I am still in touch with some of our very early graduates from my time with the Long Island AuD Consortium who are now ten years into the profession. Even when they’re making professional moves sometimes it’s simply a phone call, “Dr. Murad, what do you think about this?” It’s really nice to still have those types of relationships and now I see they’re paying it forward and serving in that same role. I think it’s important. We each need to really help and I think that you will find a lot of people that are willing to do so.
For the full interview check out the SAA Facebook Page.
This interview was completed by Andyra Lucius, a second year AuD student at the Long Island AuD Consortium in New York. Andyra is a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and her interests include pediatric and educational audiology.
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