University of Tennessee

Haslam Pursues Greater Diversity at The PhD Conference

November 10, 2015

A record number of Haslam representatives will attend The PhD Project’s annual conference in Chicago on Nov. 18-20. The conference provides an opportunity to recruit underrepresented students to doctoral programs and has been pivotal to increasing diversity in the Haslam College of Business.

“We met many of our current doctoral students at The PhD Project Conference,” said Tyvi Small, director of diversity and community relations at Haslam. “Sometimes it takes students as long as two years to enroll, but they tell us the conference and our conversations there were pivotal to their decision to attend UT.”

Supply chain faculty member Randy Bradley will speak at the event, and six Haslam doctoral students will attend.

Nick Mmbaga, whose doctoral research in management focuses on entrepreneurship, emphasizes that diversity at Haslam is integral to its students’ success. “The world is not a vacuum and the university has a responsibility to simulate an environment that reflects the totality of what students will likely encounter after graduation,” he said.

Michelle Harding finds the conference helpful to her career even after becoming a doctoral candidate in accounting. “Having access to other people of color and women specifically who also are pursuing their Ph.D. has been invaluable in ensuring my success in the program to date,” she said.

Other PhD Project alumni attending the conference include current doctoral students Vince Castillo (supply chain), Justin Short (accounting), Erika Williams (management) and Jerome Conley Jr. (accounting).

The PhD Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of business doctoral candidates from underrepresented ethnicities. For more information about the organization and its annual conference visit