While Hispanics comprise one quarter of students in public schools and 17 percent of
the undergraduate population, Hispanics only represent five percent of the total number of U.S.
higher education faculty. The PhD Project is on a mission to change that statistic as it relates to
business school, and in 25 years has made great strides.
The PhD Project was established by the KPMG Foundation to encourage minorities to
pursue careers as business professors. At its founding in 1994, there were just a handful of
Hispanic business professors in the U.S. Since then 380 Hispanic Americans have become
business professors, with 111 more now in a Ph.D course of study to qualify as professors.
These new professors are role models who now encourage and assist Hispanic
professionals and students who want to consider becoming a business professor. One of these
role models is Dr. Cinthia Satornino, assistant professor of marketing, at the University of
Connecticut’s School of Business.
When Dr. Satornino graduated with her Ph.D. in marketing from Florida State University,
she became only the 26th Hispanic woman to attain that status in the United States.
Dr. Satornino had spent over a decade in corporate and institutional settings as a strategic
planning professional and consultant. Participating in The PhD Project a decade ago highlighted
for her the opportunity to help solve strategic problems on a bigger stage and with more impact.
She became a professor, enabling her to train business professionals at the start of their careers,
and do work aligned with her beliefs of the importance of mentoring, paying it forward, and
being a role model.
One of her PhD Project colleagues, Dr. Laura Treviño of the University of Texas at El
Paso, encourages Hispanic women in business to consider the benefits of becoming a business
“To get a PhD, you have to work hard and consistently but you don’t have to be a genius.
There is a lot of financial support and it can lead to the most wonderful jobs in the world,” Dr.
The PhD Project holds an annual conference for individuals who want to explore the
career path of becoming a business professor. To learn more, visit www.phdproject.org
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics designated The PhD
Project in 2016 as one of the nation’s Bright Spots in Hispanic Education. As part of this
initiative, the Project formed a Committee on Hispanic Excellence, holding diversity summits
around the country for educators to discuss improving outcomes and increasing access in
education for Hispanic students. The PhD Project is also utilizing its network of over 1,600
minority business faculty and doctoral students to enhance outreach to Hispanic-American
students to improve their completion rate.