A Letter to my “Academic Mama”

Originally on http://www.xicanaphd.com last year for mamas day.
Republished at Inside Higher Education in August 2017
https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2017/08/25/scholar-pays-tribute-academic-mentor-essay
Happy Mother’s Day.

Xicana Ph.D.

Dear Academic Mama,

I am here. I am still here. I said this today after thinking about how hard life has been after finishing the Ph.D. I emailed you to ask you for a letter of recommendation again today and remembered how many times for many years, I would come to your office for a meeting and how I wish you were here.

I came to you like many who walk through your door carrying more than books and my laptop. You reminded me that This Bridge Called My Back isn’t just a catchy title, but a lived reality. And I thought about how when I met you, you helped me set down my worries, my pain, and gave me a safe place as a Xicana in academia, a survivor, a single mama and so many things I was or became in the six years I spent with you in…

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