What does a day look like in the life of a philanthropic studies student? We’re about to show you. In this series, three students in three different academic programs (Ph.D., M.A., and B.A.) take you inside their lives for a day to show you what it’s like learning, living, and breathing philanthropy. First up is first-year Ph.D. candidate Tiara Dungy.
Name: Tiara Dungy
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Major: Philanthropic Studies, Ph.D., minor in Business Administration
Class Year: First year
As the first born of 10 children, Tiara is no stranger to managing competing priorities. She believes that her upbringing helped her to develop a keen sense of the extraordinary potential of those around her. She believes that everyone has something they are meant to do well and enjoy. Most people call it passion; she describes it as compulsion.
Tiara has been seeking that thing in her own life since she was given two books as a child. Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold and People by Peter Stier inspired her to embark on a journey to learn more about the power of little black girls and the importance of learning from other’s experiences. She found her thing in serving others through philanthropy and amplifying historically marginalized voices.
She does not go back, for anything. Each mistake is a new opportunity to learn, those lessons often come in the form of a growling belly at lunch time or a missed international flight because of a misplaced passport but are important nonetheless.
Tiara is a fierce competitor in board game battles. She is a loud winner and sore loser but is always ready for a rematch. The title “Global Jenga Champion” has been thrown about on occasion, though she would not comment on the honor in a show of exceptional humility.
As a student at Spelman College her life was changed forever by relearning world history through the eyes of a woman of color. Now, as a scholar, she intends to reposition the lens through which philanthropy is considered by documenting more representative experiences and demonstrations of voluntary action for the public good. She says: “Philanthropic Studies scholars have the unique opportunity to construct a discipline that is foundationally inclusive of diverse experiences, the mainstream is ours to define.”
This summer she will begin her own research by conducting a pilot study on women’s entrepreneurship while participating in a service learning trip to Ghana and South Africa. After graduating she plans to teach social responsibility in a business school and establish incubators where communities, philanthropists, and scholars can connect to co-produce innovative solutions to social problems.
|08:00||WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK, you see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work – Rihanna and Drake remind me it is time to get up and WORK.
I must get out of bed to stop the alarm, but I do hit snooze.
|08:09||Rihanna and Drake remain unconvinced that I know it is time for WORK … I grumble, but finally leave my bed for good.
My priority is to get the tiny Moka Pot brewing delicious Peruvian coffee from Tinker.
|08:15||I queue up my Monocle 24 Globalist, daily international news podcast (I now have 60 minutes to pull on to campus to achieve my time goals).
Dress, drink coffee, pack lunch, engage in an impassioned one-sided debate with contributors on the Globalist.
|09:15||Globalist ends, I switch to music, Lido Pimienta or P-Squared radio on Pandora. Sing at the top of my lungs while adeptly avoiding massive potholes on the way to campus.|
|09:25||Pull on to campus. I have no sense of interval time. I am working on it.|
|09:30||Stop by University Library to pick up books I have reserved.
Did you know graduate students can check out up to 125 books at one time? Now you do. I check out 7-10 books a week.
|10:00||Settle in to my desk at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, check email, scan news headlines.|
|10:20||Print out reflections for peer reviews or finish preparing for discussion facilitation for the undergraduate class for which I am the TA.|
|10:30||Assist Dr. Tyrone Freeman with his 400 level Philanthropic Studies Capstone Class for majors. These students are amazing! I wish I had an ounce of the drive and maturity they have now in my last year of college. I am sure my parents would have appreciated it too. They are going to make a positive impact on the world; I can see it in their eyes.|
|11:50||Quick debrief on class with Dr. Freeman, a very important part of learning the art of teaching. He explains his approach, classroom management techniques, and research tips.|
|12:00||(I am tired) Grab some of the awesome free coffee at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy while heating up leftovers, usually lentils or Jamaican rice and peas, extra chilis for good measure (I LOVE spicy food).
I eat and continue researching African American philanthropy for Dr. Freeman.
|13:00-15:40||PHST Ethical, Moral, and Religious in Philanthropy with Dr. King. We ponder questions like: what is doing the right thing, what constitutes a first order consideration, what is good … it is a weekly existential crisis with friends!|
|15:50||Back to research. Most days I focus on assisting Dr. Freeman for four consecutive hours, but Wednesdays get a bit spread out. The research is extremely important for the development of the discipline of philanthropic studies, so I read a lot of material over the weekends as well.|
|18:00||Finally, the school has cleared out and I turn into a real bookworm. My classmates and coworkers are so interesting that I spend quite a bit of time picking their brains for brilliant tidbits throughout the day. I love learning from my peers, and take some time to chat with a philanthropic studies student or staff member. They have the BEST stories and advice.
Now, I dig into the articles and books I have picked up throughout the day on women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. I usually start taking notes on potential paper or article topics.
|20:00||Grumbling stomach tells me it is time to go home.
My mind is thousands of miles away in the future of philanthropy. What will it mean for women of the African diaspora to exercise more agency in the sector?
|20:15||Home sweet home. Fuzzy lamb slippers and Yoda onesie on. Dinner on the stove, I watch a bit of daytime TV on my iPad while I wash dishes (I am a HUGE Judge Mathis fan). Read a few articles in the Economist (only hard copy never digital) to check in on last week’s news, make notes on characterizations and analysis with which I do not agree.
The best advice on writing I have received is to “talk back” to everything I read. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Why? I imagine my neighbors assume I have a few roommates since I often hold full on debates with whatever I am reading or listening to (I live alone).
|20:45||Eat dinner while reading class material for my SPEA Social Entrepreneurship class.|
|22:45||Transition to the most comfortable bed in the entire world.
I pull out my clipboard to write down the swirling thoughts that have collected in my head throughout the day as well as the crazy ones that have popped up because I have a vivid imagination. Or I read if I have a heavy load for class.
I always schedule time to think. Diffuse thinking is my favorite part of the day.
|23:30||SLEEP. Usually directly on my clipboard (if I do not have a paper due).|
|03:45||Wake up in a panic thinking about the eventuality of qualifying exams, read for another hour or so.|
|05:00||Back to sleep. I have expertly blocked all avenues of light leakage from my bedroom.|
|08:00||WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work…|
“I moved to Indianapolis with the sole intent of investing every part of my life into the study of philanthropy. Everything I do including the Multi-Cultural Leadership Empowerment Program, Giving Sum Indianapolis, Emerging Scholars in College Instruction Program, and serving on the Social Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship Section executive committee for ARNOVA is to expand the global relevance and understanding of philanthropy. The specific tasks vary from day to day, but it is the same rhythm of listening, reading, thinking, writing, communicating, listening, thinking, writing, reading that guides my steps.”
Favorite place on campus: Burlingame Reading Room, third floor University Hall
Favorite things: My seafoam green bike, Cuban Coffee, Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds
Favorite quote: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” –Audre Lorde
Favorite words: Primacy, revolution, myopia
Least favorite thing: Cold weather