Adrienne Keene Defends Dissertation at Harvard

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown May 1st, 2014 Last Updated on: May 1st, 2014

It's always nice to see Natives getting their college degrees. Even better when it's a master's or doctoral degree, which is much needed in all areas of study!

On April 16, 2014, Adrienne Keene, author of the Native Appropriations blog, defended her doctoral dissertation. Chuck Leddy with the Harvard Gazette covered the story.

Allison McLaughlin, sitting in a fifth-row aisle seat at the Gutman Conference Center, raised her hand and was acknowledged by Adrienne Keene, a Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) student who was nearing the end of her 80-minute dissertation defense.

Keene is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and McLaughlin wanted to know how “being an insider shaped her research” on how Native Americans transition to college. Keene’s dissertation is “College Pride, Native Pride, and Education for Native Nation Building: Portraits of Native Students Navigating Freshman Year.” (Keene’s dissertation committee was chaired by HGSE’s Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education.)

041614_GSE_Dissertation_051.CR2Keene’s answer to McLaughlin’s question offered one of her defense’s most engaging moments. “There’s sometimes a tension between being a ‘good’ Indian and a good researcher,” said Keene. “For example, when I was making home visits with the Native American students I focused on, I reached out to them and arranged the home interviews like a researcher, rather than waiting to be invited to their homes like a ‘good’ Indian. I understand both sides. Doing research in indigenous communities is a lot about trust and respect, and they trusted me as an insider.”

Thank you for being a positive role model and congratulations Adrienne! We can't wait to see what the next chapter brings you.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Adrienne Keene Defends Dissertation at Harvard

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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