story by Claire Miller
Dihema Longman has wanted to earn a doctoral degree since she was 12 years old, listening to reggae musician Garnett Silk in her home country of Jamaica.
She immigrated to the U.S. as a high school student and found that mathematics bridged the divide between her life in Jamaica and her new one in America.
“My love of mathematics as a subject became evident during high school in Jamaica. I think that love solidified after migrating to the U.S., where mathematics was the only subject that brought me a sense of familiarity in high school,” she said.
Longman set a goal to earn her doctorate by her 40th birthday and this semester, she’s achieved that goal, graduating with her doctorate in teaching and learning and a concentration in mathematics education just before her birthday on May 20.
As a doctoral student in Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development, Longman looks back with pride on the opportunities she had to bond with and support other Georgia State doctoral students – particularly during a week-long writing retreat in the mountains led by Associate Professor Janice Fournillier.
“I witnessed other doctoral students’ progress and accomplishments, and I learned many students were also experiencing fears, doubts or lack of progress in their doctoral journeys,” she said. “I think the retreat group sessions genuinely allowed me to release many burdens, noises and distractions that I carried about writing, and what it meant for me to be a budding Black immigrant scholar.”
Now that her doctoral studies are complete, Longman hopes to spend some quality time with her family and determine next steps for her career.
“I am still unsure where my path lies but in the meantime, I will continue teaching while supporting and connecting with students in the classroom,” she said. “I want to continue being a present mother, a reliable provider and a shining example to my two girls.”