Friday, April 9, 2010

Yes you can call me Doctor...

Well April 7, 2010 was a life altering day for me. I defended my dissertation. The last major hoop required to finish the Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. I began my Ph.D. program in speech language pathology in August of 2004. Six has been a very long haul and I have had so much life change in that 6 year time, it's hard to believe I finally got within the finish line. My dissertation was on "Improving the Social Communication Competence of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Users". I enjoyed conducting my research and getting to meet some really awesome people. Before the big day, I contacted several friends and people that I knew who had gone through the defense experience. I was told that even though 3 hours were allotted for the defense, that most lasted only half that. I put together a presentation that would last between 45 and 60 minutes. I guess either my topic was extremely interesting, or my committee wanted to stall getting back to their regular schedule, or I did not put together things very clearly, but I was fortunate enough to get to hang out with my committee for 2 1/2 hours. Truly a growing experience and nothing really in life I can compare it to. I tried to take several photos throughout the day to document the process, but after I was told I passed, my brain literally turned to mush so I don't have many good pictures of after, but oh well.

Left the hotel around 7 AM. Trying to keep my goofiness about myself and keep the nerves calm, so decided to take a crazy picture acting like I was shaking all over.

This is my title slide and I was ready to go by about 7:45. My presentation began at 9AM.

I went through all my slides and videos before everyone got there to make sure they all worked and showed up on the screen.

The people that had control over whether I passed my dissertation defense or not. My committee. From left to right: Dr. Ed Auer, Dr. Hugh Catts, Dr. Jane Wegner, Dr. Debby Daniels, and Dr. Michael Wehmeyer. Overall a great group of people and brilliant minds. I was questioned for an hour and 21 minutes after giving a 55 minute presentation. It was a long 2 1/2 hours...

Of course after every grueling experience, there should be a chance to eat lunch with lots of friends...they brought in mexican food from my favorite place, El Mezcal in Lawrence, KS.