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Black. Male. Son. Brother. Middle Child. Austinite. First-Generation. Scholar. Lifelong Learner.

Originally from Austin, Texas, I spent the first 18 years of my life enjoying the spoils of one the most amazing cities in the country. I went from the predominantly Black L. L. Campbell Elementary School in East Austin, to my first experience with diversity at Kealing Middle School’s magnet program, to the West Austin oasis of opportunity, privilege, and mostly whiteness of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School’s boarding school.


It is during my time at SSES that I believe my initial desire to study race, diversity, and social inequity & mobility really developed. So shortly after matriculating at Rice University, I began researching these topics as much as I could--e.g., my undergraduate honors thesis examines the ways in which different forms of Black hairstyles influence hiring decisions. Fortunately for me, I was able to work in a phenomenal psychology lab with a phenomenal mentor who instilled in me the skills necessary to begin a PhD program.


While at Rice I’ve also studied English Literature--specifically with a focus on American and African-American authors and texts. Some of my favorite authors include Zora Neale Hurston, Colson Whitehead, Toni Morrison, and W. E. B. DuBois. My senior capstone project for the English major analyzes how key tenets of my psychological interests (e.g., internalized racism and discrimination) develop and manifest in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Jazz and what those aspects of the text suggest about Black life in America.


During my time at Rice I have been able to involve myself in various activities--Rice Young Democrats, Orientation Week, Brown College Court, Rice Student Association, Council on Diversity and Inclusion, Undergraduate Student Teaching, and Club Volleyball to name some of them.


I enjoy cooking, playing volleyball, reading novels & short stories, and travelling (despite my inability to do it as often as I would like)--and of course the research I conduct! As I move into my PhD program, I am excited for how my academic and personal lives will develop and enrich in what will be extremely formative years.


James T. Carter

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