Lauren Witherspoon

Lauren Witherspoon. Our Stories, Our Communities: UO Diversity

Lauren Witherspoon

Educational Leadership (major), 2nd year doctoral student, Education, Methodology Policy and Leadership (EMPL) dept.

Home: Dallas, TX


My community at the UO is filled with all walks of life outside of my department. Gender inclusive, international student inclusive and racially/ethnic inclusive. As a minority woman in a doctoral program who is from a diverse place, it is hard for me to have anything less in my circle than a diverse group of individuals. I feel like it is an absolute must.  


The challenges that I have encountered at the UO are lack of diversity. Navigating the university system as a Doctoral student has been more difficult than I ever imagined. What I mean by that is getting faculty to support and guide you within your program. It seems as though there is a secret to getting a doctorate degree and they only want to tell it to some. I have not figured it out quite yet. Day to day can be challenging at times, but I remember this is a long race, keep my head up and continue working hard. What has helped is reaching out to other diverse leadership (faculty/staff) who are interested in my research and obtaining guidance from them. Also becoming part of some organizations, such as the graduate advisory board, has helped me in meeting people from other departments.