LaGarrett King

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Assistant Professor of Secondary Social Studies Education, Clemson University Clemson, SC


Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2012


My four years at UT-Austin was one of my most enjoyable and intellectually stimulating experiences in my life. I met some life long friends and colleagues. The undergraduate students were fun, interesting, and intellectually inquisitive. The professors were genuinely supportive and challenging. I really felt as if the people from UT-Austin were family.

Why UT?

My journey to UT Austin was one that was by faith. I was a classroom teacher in the city of Atlanta and I wanted to earn a Ph.D. I began to email individual professors whose work aligned with my interest and I came across my eventual advisor, Anthony Brown, in Curriculum and Instruction. He advised me to call him. He did not talk about his research or the great things that he was doing; he was interested in me and my reasoning for coming to graduate school (we spoke for over an hour on a Saturday).  I was so impressed that I applied and as they say, “the rest is history.”

Life After UT

My experience at UT-Austin has prepared me for the job as an Assistant Professor at Clemson University. Throughout my first year, many people have asked how I am transitioning from a doctoral candidate into a faculty member at a top-tier research school. My reply has been “fine.” In fact, nothing has changed in terms of my mental preparedness and research activity. At UT, the professors from the beginning stated that they would help me learn the business of a research university—that is research, teaching, and service. Throughout my tenure at UT, I was given the opportunity to participate in those aspects of the job. Because of that education, my first year at Clemson has been a smooth transition.

Advice for Students

My advice for a current or prospective Ph.D student is “let the game come to you.” Trust the process of obtaining a Ph.D and don’t rush it. This is probably going to be the only time in your life when your sole job is to learn. Learning and doing good work takes time and having an open mind and patience is the only way you will see your hard work come to fruition. It is not going to be easy as you are trying to find your identity as a scholar. It is extremely important that you do not compare yourself with others in your program as everyone has a specific journey that is only for them.