Victoria Thomas

Ph.D. Candidate, Communication Studies
University of Washington
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jacqueline Irwin, Sacramento State University

M.A. Communication Studies
Sacramento State University

B.A. Justice Studies
Georgia Southern University

Victoria’s research focuses on media representation of Black queer women. Her research critically considers how race and gender are inscribed upon Black transgender bodies in media representations. She takes a critical and cultural studies approach to acquire knowledge on popular culture’s (re) presentations of the lived experience of being Black and transgender in a cultural moment where there is public outcry for Black lives to matter. She spoke to CDIP about her doctoral journey.

What motivated you to purse a doctoral degree?
Driving my commitment to earn a Ph.D. is the desire to make a substantial impact on students’ lives the way education has significantly influenced mine. Teaching and researching about social inequities, violence against women of color, and coalition building is an integral reason I am striving to be a professor of Communication and Difference.

Describe how CDIP is helping you with your education and professional goals.
The CDIP loan has provided me financial and social support throughout my doctoral program. I have presented at conferences, attended summer research institutes, and participated in community engagement with underrepresented minorities and undocumented individuals. These experiences have contributed to data for my dissertation and research collaborations with faculty members.

Tell us about your favorite part of CDIP.
The social support I receive from current CSU faculty members and the CDIP office staff is influential to my success in my doctoral program. My CSU mentor, Dr. Jacqueline Irwin, has provided invaluable guidance and it has contributed to my continued success in my doctoral program

How did you use your loan and/or grant(s)?
The financial support has allowed me to travel to international conferences, purchase books for my dissertation project, and supplement my income during my six months of fieldwork and data collection.

What advice would you give to a new CDIP Scholar?
Take advantage of the grants and loans to travel to conferences and network with faculty members from different universities. When attending conferences, be sure to make connections by introducing yourself to faculty members and discussing your research interests. These brief conversations provide new opportunities for research collaborations and guidance from senior faculty in your field of study.

What are you passionate about?
My desire to be a university professor is a commitment to utilizing my passion for an equitable society; innovation for communicating across difference; and my lived experiences as a Black cisgender woman in my scholarship and teaching practices to mentor a new generation of engaged scholars.