Daniel Jean: College Educator On Mission To Inspire People of Color to Earn Ph.D.s - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

BE Modern Man: Daniel Jean

College educator, 44, Founder of Wordstravel LLC and PhinisheD/FinishEdD #WhoGotNext

Twitter: @Wordstravel; Instagram: @Wordstravel

I am the founder of PhinishEdD/FinishEdD #WhoGotNext and Wordstravel L.L.C. I have presented over 600 seminars; sharing best practices for marginalized populations through webinars, keynotes, workshops and trainings for organizations such as the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), and the Southern Regional Education Board Institute on Teaching and Mentoring (SREB).

I also serve as the executive director of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program and Academic Development at Montclair State University in New Jersey. I have published two books and taught college courses in transformative leadership and hip-hop culture. I am the founder of three statewide college access/awareness conferences, which bring over 1,000 high school scholars to campus annually; the Richard Wilson/Jason James Mentorship Program for high school/college scholars and young professionals; a professional consortium titled the Male Education Network (MEN); and PhinisheD/FinishEdD #WhoGotNext for 13,000 current/future doctors.

In addition to my career as a college educator, I am a poet and playwright. My most recent play “Til Death Do Us Part?” ran Off-Off-Broadway in NYC to two sold-out runs.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?

I am most proud of my role in my community to help others as a college educator. I have a goal to mentor 1,000 future doctors and deliver 1,000 seminars before I retire.

HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?

From EBT to the EdD. From welfare to the White House. I have overcome homelessness, instability, drug-addicted family, and anti-intellectualism to reach all of my personal and professional dreams.

In the immortal words of the Canadian actor turned rapper [Drake], I started from the bottom and I am now here. I am the youngest child of Haitian immigrants who arrived on these shores in search of the American dream and running water. I am the teenage boy who lost his father and was raised by his God-fearing mother in the heart of Newark, New Jersey. I am the young man who earned a 1.9 high school GPA and, by the grace of God, went on to earn three degrees and become an educator.

WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST ROLE MODEL?

My father. In the early 1970s, he left the oppressive government of Haiti to raise five college graduates. He passed when I was 14, but he taught me grit, resilience, and the discipline to achieve all my aspirations, including as a college educator.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?

As a Haitian-American, I value my heritage, my physical attributes and the global culture we create. I love every aspect of my blackness and how I am able to define it for the world.

BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.



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