14 February 2014

PhD Graduation and more!

Ah! The big day finally came. I had so many moments of doubt and disbelief along the way. Completing a PhD at a major university is a daunting task not to be taken lightly.

It all started as a career idea planted by Dr. Johnson, my undergraduate advisor. I applied to three graduate schools in Statistics since a) I was told I would be able to go to school for free b) I was told that i would get PAID to get my degree and c) I had a math degree with no real work experience aside from tutoring all levels of math (grades 1 - college level). I had no other plans, so i figured going from zero income to some income and getting a degree or two along the way wasn't a bad idea. I knew for certain that I didn't want to be a high school teacher for many reasons I have mentioned before. The career would come. I was accepted into UCLA, Colorado State, and NCSU, and decided upon the latter since it was the alma matter of my entire family (mom, dad, uncles, sister....)  Plus they were the only school to offer me a stipend immediately, so the idea of monthly income, and free tuition and health care wasn't too shabby. I made out pretty good and was able to afford my own apartment and support myself comfortably. I ended up paying for the last 13 semesters out of 21 BUT was finished with my course work so it was only one credit hour. I still made more money in a year on stipend then i spent on tuition.

Brief timeline:
2002 - (Fall) graduate school began.
2003 - (summer) Masters Exam and Phd Qualifiers taken and passed.
2004 - (spring) Masters Oral Exam Passed
2004 - (spring) Graduation - master's degree
2004 - Summer internship turns to part time job with GSK pharmaceuticals
2005 - Summer internship with SAS turns to part time job
2005 - (summer) Written Preliminary Exam passed
2006 - completed course work end of Spring semester
2006 - (August) offered full time job with SAS, ending school stipend and free tuition.
2006-current : working full time at SAS while actively enrolled for one credit hour per semester
2011 - (Fall), one year leave of absence for maternity leave
2012 - Summer: Oral Preliminary Exam - conditional Pass!
2012 - (Fall), re-enroll
2013 - (Fall): Last. Semester. Ever!
2013 - October - PhD Defense - UNCONDITIONAL PASS!

Background:  You have 10 years from the point of entry (which began the semester after i finished my Master's degree) to complete the program. AND you have to be actively enrolled, EVERY. SINGLE. SEMESTER.  Fortunately I found out I could take a leave of absence and when miss Sloan came, i took a year off.

I am grateful that my undergraduate advisor encouraged me to pursue more education and was connected enough to know what it would take to get me "paid" for doing so.

Yes, it took me 9.5 years from the time i graduated with my Masters degree, BUT i did a LOT of living in that time, and traveling. Purchased two homes. Visited 12 different countries. 

Finally, after all that playing around, and err, hard work, the big moment arrived! i convinced my committee that I was done, I defended my paper, and i passed. 

I wasn't sure if i wanted to walk across the stage but i'm sure glad that i did. It was quite nostalgic and I worked pretty dang hard for it. 


My in-laws flew in from California to celebrate with us! it was great! My parents of course drove up for the ceremony. We all had a great time. Dad and Sloan presented me with flowers after the main ceremony, he let her pick them out.

I thought it was cool that I was sitting under the NCSU scoreboard
Being a Beeman, i was on the front row! After years of suffering at the end of the line as a "Sloan", it was nice to get called on first.
Here is my view of Rick and Sloan and my mom. They are on the second row from the bottow as you can see from above the kids hat (it's actually the third row) My dad sat across from them on the aisle, you can see him standing and taking my picuture of me taking his picture.  Don and Rita up top. Her knee wouldn't let her take all those stadium stairs.


Afterwards we ate lunch at the Busy Bee Cafe, one of my favorites in downtown Raleigh.
Sloan was wearing her "sunglasses" as she called them. 
Then on to my departmental ceremony. Nevermind what Sloan is doing here but i wanted to show off my red shoes.

The hooding ceremony took place next in the Statistics Department. If you look closely you can see the gift Rick got me for graduation. It is a ruby necklace.
Two of my committee members

Another shot of my fabulous shoes. Not bad for 18 weeks pregnant


Of course many people have asked, WHAT NEXT? 
Aside from cooking this next baby and homemaking (so far I have made 2 dresses and 3 skirts and countless baked goods and creative meals that are mostly healthy) there was only one more FUN option to choose ... Since achieving a PhD is like winning the super bowl (yeah ok not really) here you go!

So there you have it. Disney, and a few various spots. The Beeman Family is hitting the road South for warmer weather. I hope to be able to post more soon.

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