Dr. Anne Charity-Hudley paves the way for marginalized researchers

The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center (UROC) Speaker Series was presented by Dr. Anne Charity-Hudley on Oct. 1. The series focused on discussing ways to make researching more accessible to marginalized students. 

Charity-Hudley is a professional linguist, professor of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and recently stepped down from being the director of undergraduate research at UCSB. Throughout her presentation it was made clear that her accolades are many. A quick glance through her website reveals an impressive list of honors, including but not limited to the publication of three books, which all have purple covers. The covers of her books are inspired by Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” as she wrote these books to center and be accessible to underrepresented groups of students. 

Charity-Hudley lives on campus at UCSB to truly be immersed in the academic environment and to share in her students’ experience. From her start in academia, she has pushed for different models of inclusivity in faculty, with her primary motivator being to help educate other people. She believes it is important for marginalized students to see themselves represented. 

Faculty who come from similar backgrounds as their students are more likely to understand the innumerable challenges that come with being a person of the global majority, or any other vulnerable population. Charity-Hudley stressed the importance of including underrepresented groups in every industry. Both of her parents are physicians, and her mother was in the first generation of black nurses to integrate into an all-white school. She touched on the necessity of inclusivity when it comes to medical professionals. Racism affects all industries, including healthcare. 

“Your arrogance can literally cause someone to die,” Dr. Charity-Hudley said.

She advised people to integrate wherever they can and be the change that needs to happen. Charity-Hudley looked toward undergraduate research that is equitable and fair. Many people of color often wrestle with imposter syndrome, or having chronic self-doubt despite being successful, for a myriad of reasons. One of them is the microaggressions marginalized people experience constantly, which are a subtle form of racism that manifest in a comment in which a person is made to feel uncomfortable. It might not be outright racist or ill-intentioned, but it’s important to note that these types of comments are unacceptable and detrimental to a person’s psyche. 

To counteract the imposter syndrome, Charity-Hudley advised participants to remember that, “when we participate in something, we legitimize it, not the other way around.” The presence of underrepresented people in higher education, specifically in undergraduate research, provides institutions with diverse insights and perspectives that it would otherwise not be able to produce. 

It is important to remember that one is not in this alone. Charity-Hudley’s recommendation to undergrad students was to make sure that the career center is aware of who you are. Show up to your professor’s office hours, build the alumni network and don’t be afraid to ask for help when trying to advance in researching.

When asked what accomplishments she is most proud of, she sheepishly admitted that it was the fact that the students from back home still know her, and that professors are still sending their students to her. She has the passion and warmth that is necessary in academia, and she speaks with a fire that cannot be understated. It is clear that her experiences have a large impact on people. Her impact spans across multiple states, schools, and generations of students and now to the group of participants of the UROC Speaker Series. 

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