Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Doctoral graduate Kerron Joseph makes higher-education diversity his mission

Doctoral graduate Kerron Joseph makes higher-education diversity his mission

CLASS OF 2022

MAY 20, 2022 — Kerron Joseph achieved his lifelong dream of obtaining a doctorate degree this month when he received his Ph.D. in finance from the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at UTSA.

Growing up in the Caribbean, Joseph came to the United States to attend college. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, he taught high school for a few years then worked in higher education administration.

While teaching as an adjunct professor at Stephen F. Austin, Joseph realized that while he loved mathematics, his passions kept leading him back to business finance, so he applied to UTSA’s doctoral program.


“One of the most valuable lessons that I learned was about myself and the ability to persevere when you have no idea what you are doing.”



“After meeting with the faculty, I thought UTSA’s program would challenge me, and I would have the opportunity to grow as a scholar, a researcher, a student and overall, as a person,” said Joseph. “I’ve grown so much in the past five years.”

Joseph has focused on two main streams of research: corporate finance and investment, and banking with a corporate finance outlook. Working with finance professor Palani-Rajan Kadapakkam, Joseph identified potential mispricing of dividends in mergers and acquisitions transactions. He also worked with finance Professor John Wald, who mentored him in corporate banking with a focus on monetary policy and macroeconomic policy.

“I’ve always had an interest in policy,” said Joseph. “As I went through this program, I was exposed to potential applications of studying policy in the field of finance. It is a rich field. And it requires quite a bit of commitment to lifelong learning because you always have to stay abreast of how things are changing. It is valuable to retain a broad curiosity, especially as a young researcher.”

Joseph also had the opportunity to enhance his teaching skills at UTSA. As part of a teaching seminar led by Rick Utecht, associate professor of marketing, he learned the differences between teaching at the high school level versus higher education.

“Dr. Utecht’s class was very informative because he brought his wealth of experience and knowledge to bear and made us think about the theory of what good higher education instruction looks like and contrasted that with the realities and how to deal with difficult situations,” said Joseph. “He gave us an idea of what to expect in our lives as academicians. He was more than a teacher. He was a really good mentor.”

Completing his doctoral studies during the pandemic presented its own set of challenges. While he was used to staying at home to work on his research, he had to adjust to teaching remotely during the pandemic and missed the interaction he previously had with his colleagues and the faculty. Joseph shared that it takes a village to raise a Ph.D. student.

“I didn’t realize how valuable that interaction was to my motivation to keep pushing forward,” he said. “It wasn’t like we learned by osmosis, but we certainly gained some degree of motivation from visiting in the office and discussing our papers or the challenges we were facing. It was an unexpected reality check about the value of your cohort.”

While at UTSA, Joseph was a participant in the Ph.D. Project, an organization whose goal is to increase the number of minorities in academia. He noted that throughout his academic career, he only had one black male faculty member.

“It is important that I can make an impact in a field where minorities are underrepresented,” said Joseph. “Being able to accomplish this and go on to mentor others is important to me.”

He is also grateful to his parents and their sacrifices, which made it possible for him to fulfill his dreams.

“This demonstrates that their hard work has paid off,” he said. “As a new parent, I can appreciate the sacrifices that they’ve made. Oftentimes, when you plan for something decades in advance, it is difficult to attain. That is why it is so valuable for me to be able to accomplish this for myself.”


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Next fall, Joseph will begin his career in academia as an assistant professor of finance at Western Kentucky University. While he will miss his time in Texas, he is looking forward to being part of another university that is moving in a great direction.

Reflecting on his UTSA tenure, Joseph shared, “One of the most valuable lessons that I learned was about myself and the ability to persevere when you have no idea what you are doing. That is in many regards what research is. You are charting the course; you are uncovering the truth and taking a look at something that no one has done before.”

Wendy Frost



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.