Doctoral graduate Kerron Joseph makes higher-education diversity his mission | UTSA Today | UTSA

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“After meeting with the faculty, I thought UTSA’s program would challenge me, and I would have the opportunity to grow as a scholar, a researcher, a student and overall, as a person,” said Joseph. “I’ve grown so much in the past five years.”

Joseph has focused on two main streams of research: corporate finance and investment, and banking with a corporate finance outlook. Working with finance professor Palani-Rajan Kadapakkam, Joseph identified potential mispricing of dividends in mergers and acquisitions transactions. He also worked with finance Professor John Wald, who mentored him in corporate banking with a focus on monetary policy and macroeconomic policy.

“I’ve always had an interest in policy,” said Joseph. “As I went through this program, I was exposed to potential applications of studying policy in the field of finance. It is a rich field. And it requires quite a bit of commitment to lifelong learning because you always have to stay abreast of how things are changing. It is valuable to retain a broad curiosity, especially as a young researcher.”

Joseph also had the opportunity to enhance his teaching skills at UTSA. As part of a teaching seminar led by Rick Utecht, associate professor of marketing, he learned the differences between teaching at the high school level versus higher education.

“Dr. Utecht’s class was very informative because he brought his wealth of experience and knowledge to bear and made us think about the theory of what good higher education instruction looks like and contrasted that with the realities and how to deal with difficult situations,” said Joseph. “He gave us an idea of what to expect in our lives as academicians. He was more than a teacher. He was a really good mentor.”

Completing his doctoral studies during the pandemic presented its own set of challenges. While he was used to staying at home to work on his research, he had to adjust to teaching remotely during the pandemic and missed the interaction he previously had with his colleagues and the faculty. Joseph shared that it takes a village to raise a Ph.D. student.

“I didn’t realize how valuable that interaction was to my motivation to keep pushing forward,” he said. “It wasn’t like we learned by osmosis, but we certainly gained some degree of motivation from visiting in the office and discussing our papers or the challenges we were facing. It was an unexpected reality check about the value of your cohort.”

While at UTSA, Joseph was a participant in the Ph.D. Project, an organization whose goal is to increase the number of minorities in academia. He noted that throughout his academic career, he only had one black male faculty member.

“It is important that I can make an impact in a field where minorities are underrepresented,” said Joseph. “Being able to accomplish this and go on to mentor others is important to me.”

He is also grateful to his parents and their sacrifices, which made it possible for him to fulfill his dreams.

“This demonstrates that their hard work has paid off,” he said. “As a new parent, I can appreciate the sacrifices that they’ve made. Oftentimes, when you plan for something decades in advance, it is difficult to attain. That is why it is so valuable for me to be able to accomplish this for myself.”

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