Black History Spotlight

Reality Sincere "Real" Canty

Reality-CantyReality Sincere "Real" Canty is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology's cognitive division and a graduate research assistant at the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage and his Master of Arts in Psychology at UIC. Real has his own lab with research assistants where the research focuses on understanding how children use external representations to solve problems and to reason in domains such as math and science. The lab is called the 4Ms, pronounced forms, and stands for mind, matter, motion and mathematics.

Real is a native New Yorker where his high school was predominantly African American, however, in his honors classes he felt like a minority for the first time.   Real started mentoring in high school, and continues on through today, because he was lonely and selfish.  He was the only brother in those honor classes and wanted more, he wanted company.  Real choose undergraduate studies in Alaska where he had family on his mother’s side.  He was a minority there among a diverse student body.  He was able to use his mentoring and oratory skills to land scholarships while there.  Real came to UIC via the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).   He was looking for a graduate program that would support his interests and research and found such opportunities under the mentoring and advising of Susan Goldman in the Department of Psychology. 

Real has presented his research at the annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, and the International Conference of the Learning Sciences.  He has also co-authored articles published in the Journal of Mathematical Behavior, and Teaching Children Mathematics.  Despite a busy academic schedule, Real mentors for SROP, speaks at area high schools, represents the Psychology Department and UIC at national events held for the purpose of recruiting minority youth into graduate school in Psychology, and serves on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks.

“As a resource, I’ve been able to help undergraduates apply to grad school, working with them on the personal statements. This summer, my baby sister will participate in SROP, one of the summer research programs that I participated in as an undergraduate. I've helped several students write letters that have helped them gain entry into competitive summer opportunity programs. These are not the types of activities that are often recognized in academia but they are highly rewarding for me. They make up a big part of my identity.”

The role model that Real exemplifies is in itself a testimony to setting the bar at its very highest.  Reality Sincere Canty has certainly set a high standard, and uses his talent to reach out to others.


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