Wednesday, 19 April 2017


This semester has been one for the books, but the results are in-- I have passed my dissertation defense and revisions! As of Monday, April 17th, 2017 I was done!! Thinking back over the milestones, it does feel somewhat strange to be at this point. At times I felt that I would never be here. I am honestly so very thankful for the support of my committee in getting me to this point. I don't take it for granted that I was able to complete my degree in three years, and I know that I could not have done it without them be ready and willing to help me through the process.

My checklist is finally complete, though, and it feels great!

The defense went pretty smoothly. For my twenty minute defense presentation, I prepared this Dissertation Defense Presentation. Preparing the presentation actually took me longer than I expected it to take. I think that it took so long because it was really hard to narrow down what exactly I wanted to include in the presentation. I cut down my 190ish page dissertation to 24 slides to present in just over 20 minutes. I designed the presentation slides based on the Hufflepuff colors, my Hogwarts house. Gotta have some fun with it!

Maureen's advice was to write a script to read from during the presentation, and I'm glad I did. My working notes kept me centered and on track. I read pretty much straight from these notes during the presentation, and then I answered questions for about 40 to 45 minutes. I answered at least three questions from each member of my committee, and then I answered a couple questions from the audience. My questions were generally focused on asking for clarification on a few terms, the decisions I made in teaching my course, and then the responses from my students.

After the questions, I went out in the hall with my friends who attended the defense and waited for my committee to make their decision. That part was probably less than five minutes, but I can honestly say that it was by far the worst part of the day. Maureen came out into the hall (with Ellie on my phone on Skype) and announced that I passed! That was a relief. I went back into the room, then, and we made a plan for completing my revisions.

After that, it was time to celebrate! My friends and I took some photos outside, and then we went to for a champagne toast and some delicious lunch at Postino Annex. That night, I ate dinner with my college roommate at Cibo Urban Pizzeria. The next day, after flying back to the midwest, Wade took me out to dinner at Bonefish Grill and gave me my graduation gift-- a trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando, FL! So fun.

The next week was spent on revisions. I completed my revisions from Maureen first, then Ellie, then Trish, then my own, then the formatting from the college. It was intense work, but I feel really good about the final product. I was able to highlight and clarify the elements of the dissertation that I highlighted in the defense but wasn't as clear in the actual draft. Submitting that finalized version felt really good, and it felt even better when I received my pass. Phew! All that's left is just to walk in the commencement ceremony in Tempe on Monday, May 8th. I'm so excited!

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