She may have her PhD now, but getting there wasn’t easy for Chandra Gill. She grew up in the predominately black and poverty heavy Woodlawn area of Chicago, that is facing major gentrification.
In the middle of her master’s program, Gill was convicted of aggravated assault on a police officer. While that may have delayed her educational path, that didn’t stop Gill from going on to complete her both her master’s and PhD programs, and find a way to give back to her community.
Gill has used her experience of overcoming obstacles to motivate a younger generation by founding “Blackademically Speaking,” a motivational outreach group “where motivation meets education.”
Gill has also written a book, Champions Break Chains, to encourage and uplift “a community of people that others have given up on.” The book serves as a guide to overcoming the obstacles people may face in trying to achieve.
“I’m there to say ‘you can do whatever you put your mind to, irrespective of what you’re going through, irrespective of what you’re born in.’”
In a video on her website, www.drchandragill.com, Gill calls on people who have been putting off going back to school to get their GED or Diploma to take up the challenge and complete it. Gill also stresses that the urban child needs motivation to be fully educated.
“I get emotional thinking about just how little our children need, just a little encouragement.”