My Chance to Contribute

Over the last few days, I’ve been editing a manuscript that I’ve been asked to resubmit to a Hispanic business peer reviewed journal. If you’re not familiar with the term “peer reviewed” it’s a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc. Since this is the first time I’ve had to go through this process, it’s been a challenging but learning experience.

Despite the short-term agony, I feel extremely fortunate to be at this point in my life. Growing up, I never dreamed to have earned a doctorate. A colleague who is helping with my editing reminded me the other night that there aren’t many Hispanics that hold a Ph.D or doctorate. “You have to do it.”  He told me to remember this when I felt overwhelmed or less than confident in my “scholarly abilities.” So I took a break from my writing this morning and did a bit of research on the subject of Hispanics and doctorate degrees. Here is what I found (from which I borrow liberally from the NSF website).

U.S. citizens of Hispanic origin earned a total of 1,489 research doctorates from U.S. institutions in the period of July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007. This represented 5 percent of all doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens in that year. Non-Hispanic whites earned 79 percent of those doctorates, while African Americans earned 7 percent and Asians earned 6 percent.

In 2007, nearly two-thirds of doctorate degrees earned by Hispanics were awarded in three broad fields – life sciences (21 percent), social sciences (22 percent), and education (22 percent). The next most popular field was humanities (14 percent).

The number of Hispanics receiving doctoral degrees has increased by 140 percent in the last twenty years from 617 in 1987 to 1,489 in 2007. While the proportion of Hispanics among U.S. citizen doctorates has increased over the past two decades (from 3 percent in 1987 to 5 percent in 2007), the proportion of white doctorate recipients has declined over the same time period (from 92 percent in 1987 to 79 percent in 2007). The proportion of other non-white U.S. citizens (Asians, and black/African Americans) receiving research doctorates has also increased during this period.

The proportion of females among Hispanics receiving doctoral degrees has increased in the last 10 years, from 49 percent in 1997 to 56 percent in 2007. Hispanic females have received more doctoral degrees than Hispanic males each year since 1999. The proportion of female doctorates among whites has also risen, from 46 percent in 1997 to 50 percent in 2007.

From a small inner city first grade classroom in Los Angeles to teaching for two online Universities, I have traveled on my yellow brick road journey filled with thoughts about how to make a difference in the Hispanic community. Hence, my goal is to inspire other Hispanics to want to continue to develop themselves professionally. I realize that I am still at a point in my own journey where I need to continue to contemplate, study, inquire, and revise my strategies to better meet my goals.  This short-term writing quest before me now is only a part of a larger mission to increase awareness and help introduce the Hispanic American experience to the business world. Yes, it often feels like a Don Quixote-like endeavor, but I hope it is not an impossible dream!