Rutgers GSE CMSI

Tammy E. Smithers

Tammy E. Smithers is Co-founder and Research Assistant of the newly established International Center for the Study of Advocacy in Social Justice at the School of Education and Human Services at the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, Texas. Additionally, she is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Office of the President at UST and is piloting a 4-year retention experiential study during the Spring 2020 semester. She has joined the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey as a Visiting Scholar where she spent the Spring 2020 semester writing articles, research briefs, and publishing her research.

Defending her dissertation in January 2020, Tammy’s dissertation title, “Mixed-Methods Study of Retention Initiatives on Persistence of Ethnic Minoritized Female Baccalaureates,” explored the predictors of persistence and self-efficacy as a moderator for Black and Latina females majoring in competitive business and engineering fields. The setting for this study was a historically Black college and university (HBCU) and a Hispanic serving institution. Her interest in this population of baccalaureates and their academic and career success within highly analytical fields (e.g., finance, investment banking, and science, technology, engineering, and math) is not only due to their underrepresentation within these fields and industries, but also, because of her own lived experience with this phenomenon during her 10-plus year career working at three Fortune 100 companies. One of those experiences included working on Wall Street for a global wealth management firm as a financial advisor during the height of the Great Recession of 2008 and then, later, rebounding to eventually become a Partner at another large financial services corporation.

Upon exiting that life, Tammy's devoted her time and talent educating others and pursuing their path in business and entrepreneurship. As adjunct faculty, she taught Introduction to Management and Professional Selling courses at the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University. It was this experience that led her to pursue her doctoral studies in education at the University of St. Thomas where she will graduate in May 2020 with a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Ethical Leadership. Tammy holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Rice University and a Bachelor of Journalism in Public Relations from The University of Texas at Austin.

While in Ed.D. candidacy, she has published an article, Leadership, power, diversity, and equity: How social movements influence change, in a peer-reviewed journal for P-12 educators and a book chapter on P-20 leadership (in press) entitled, Strategic leadership: Educating a diverse nation beyond the 21st century. Tammy has also been invited to present at six regional, national, and international conferences. Tammy’s scholarship includes topics such as grooming minoritized women as CEOs, the role of educational CEOs as innovators and enforcers of policies and programs, the impact of retention and persistence in minority-serving higher education institutions, and a critical analysis of social contact theory through the Colin Kaepernick protest. Her commitment to social justice, gender equality, diversity, equity and inclusion work is evident not only in her devotion to academic research, but also, in the at-large community where she serves in advisor, consultant, and board capacities for gender, race, and social justice-related startup entities and projects.