Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ASHE Paper Presentation

I love ASHE...the Association for the Study of higher education.  It's an organization that is geared toward... well, the study of higher education.  :)  I went to my first conference last year and LOVED it.  I walked away with notes on things to read about and think about.  I was thoroughly looking forward to this years conference...with some anticipation and some nervousness as I was presenting a paper I wrote about faculty-student interactions.

So in November, I presented in my first paper presentation.  Now, I've presented at many conferences over the last 9 years in higher education, but never a paper presentation.  These presentations are a bit different than other conference presentations.  It goes like this...

Roughly three people/presenters send a paper of original research to a discussant (someone who is generally an expert in the topic) weeks in advance
On the day of the presentation, the three people get 10 minutes each to discuss their research
The discussant then gets 15 minutes to give feedback, publicly, on each of the papers

Although I was a nervous wreck, it was a good feeling to get the first one out of the way!  Moreover, I received some good feedback on my paper.

Glad it's over...but already looking forward to ASHE next year.

New Toy

I got a new (to me) iPad!  I've been looking longingly at them for months and months, about 24 months to be exact.  Now, the wait is over.

With the new iPad 3, the iPad 2s were a much more reasonable price.  Moreover, I decided to go for a refurbished one, which meant an extra 20% off the reduced rate.  Anyway, after becoming a candidate and after stalking the apple website for a little over a month, I purchased my new toy.

I'm excited about it and have enjoyed playing with the new toy!  Woohoo, what a fun gift for candidacy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Georgia Resident

Although this is a little past due, on June 30th I became an official Georgia resident (plates, license, and voter registration).


It was kind of funny because it took me over 3 hours to get my license.  They have an odd system in Georgia and depending on what activity you're there for (renewal, new, other) you have a different letter.  Each letter than corresponds to a few windows/counters.  So you'll hear B34 and then N231... and so on.  It's a little odd because you have no idea when you'll be called.  For example, my neighbor in waiting arrived an hour and forty five minutes into my wait, and yet got called in twenty minutes.

After getting my license I went to get my plate (just one) and waited a total of 12 minutes from the minute I walked in until I was leaving the building.


But now I am a Georgia resident; and I've even updated my plates (since you have to renew your tag on your birthday...who thought that was a good idea? I know it helps you remember but COME ON...what a lovely gift to yourself.  :/)

But now I'm just rambling.  Anyway, I'm happy I'm officially a Georgia resident and that I can vote in the November election (and not by absentee ballot).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Doctoral Candidate!

Well, it's official, I passed the oral portion of my preliminary (or comprehensive) exams on Thursday, September 27th!

Here's how the defense went:
2:40pm: Arrived in Aderhold (the college of education)
2:45: listened to music
2:50: tried to take deep breaths
2:55: bathroom break
3pm: defense was about to begin
3:02: went to grab one of my committee members
3:05: all members arrived and discussed for a minute or two before they asked me to come in the room
3:06: my dissertation committee plus all the program faculty began going through my responses day by day and asking any questions they had
3:32: I finished answering all the questions and my advisor asked me to step out into the hallway
3:33: I pace (they talk)
3:35: Dr. Cooper (my advisor) steps out of the room and CONGRATULATES me as a doctoral candidate!
3:36: Celebration ensues!

So now, I'm a doctoral candidate and unofficially (ABD: all but dissertation).  Now give me a D-O-C-T

Now, working on the O-R :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Give me a C

On Tuesday, September 4th, I found out I successfully passed the written portion of my preliminary exams!  WOOHOO!  Although it is quite an accomplishment, it still feels a bit anticlimactic since I still have to defend orally.

But I earned my C (in D-O-C-T-O-R) and now I'm studying for my T...which will take place on Thursday, September 27th.  If I successfully defend that day, then I will change from a doctoral student to a doctoral 'candidate' (or sometimes referred to as ABD 'all but dissertation').  It's exciting and a bit terrifying.

Somedays I feel this PhD journey is taking for-e-ver, and other days I realize how quickly it's flying by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Post Prelims

Well, I realize I've been m.i.a. from the blog world...let's be honest, m.i.a. from much of the real world as well the last month.

The Olympics happened, right?!

But what have I been doing? Well, one word...studying.  On August 1st, I started my preliminary examinations.  These are essentially the comprehensive exams over a four day period.  The first, second, and third days you meet in a computer lab, receive a question, and have four hours to answer it. Then on day three, you are also given a take home question that is specifically written for you, you have twenty-four hours to read/write/submit your case.

On August 4th at 1pm, I submitted my case study.  And now, I wait.

In the midst of waiting, I started classes yesterday and I am working on the introduction, literature review, and methodology chapters for my dissertation.

I should find out at the beginning of September if I passed my written prelims at which point I'd schedule an oral defense.  So for now, I wait, and work, and go to class, and write.  This is a big step in the journey and I'm grateful to have it behind me (and I'll be even more grateful when I find out that I've passed).

Happy New Year! (yes, I measure my year's by the academic calendar)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Back to Life

...back to reality.

Reality is...
It's the beginning of July (yikes!)
Today is my mom's birthday, happy birthday mom!
I take preliminary exams in ONE month (August 1st-4th)
I will be writing the first three chapters of my dissertation this summer
June 29th was the hottest day in history (107)
I got too much sun at the pool today

That's all for now.

Back to life, back to the present time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Leaving Cape Town

On Sunday morning, June 17th approximately 80 students, Chase, Lori, Christina, and I headed to the airport for the trip back to Atlanta (Chase & Lori headed to France)!
Those rearranging to meet weight requirements
Christina and I are ready to head home (bitter sweet)!
I had to get a picture with Ish. Sad it was on the last day. He's a remarkable man.
Leaving Cape Town (this was actually taken by a student as we arrived; but still an amazing photo with the South African flag on the wing and table mountain in the background!)

On the way out to Cape Town, we had a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt. Thankfully, the layover wasn't that long on the return, however, it was still long enough to leave the airport and head into the city!
Sharanya and Claire in front of the train station
We found  a nice coffee and pastry place to have breakfast!

The pastry place where we had breakfast
Haha! Reminded us of home, even in Germany!
We were in the heart of the city
DB: a really large train station in the heart of the city
Random: but the walk and don't walk are green & red (no little white man telling you what to do)
Old fashion departure flight board; Frankfurt is one of the busiest airports in the world

Back in the airport with our train tickets.
And then we were on our way home.  We left Cape Town at 10:30am on Sunday and arrived home in Atlanta at 4:30pm on Monday.  Calculating time difference and travel, we estimate 38 hours of travel almost 21 hours on a plane.

Upon arriving in Atlanta, my luggage, however, was not there to greet me.  I took some comfort in the airline knowing it wasn't going to arrive :/  Yet, I was nervous because I brought back a couple of bottles of wine (and I was hoping the delay wasn't due to some sort of luggage catastrophe).  But the luggage arrived on Wednesday! WOOHOO!

All in all the trip was a great experience, but I was happy to have my feet on the ground and to sleep in my own bed...and even better when my luggage and me were both safely home!

Final Celebration

The final celebration was a time of reflection on the five weeks in Cape Town.  The student speakers, Mary Beth and Lincoln did a remarkable job.  Colleen created a video that unbelievably captured so many moments of the trip.  Overall, the celebration was a nice way to end the trip.  It was also nice to snap some shots with some of the students I've connected with, many of whom I graded.

Morgan is a wonderful woman who has such a heart for people
Claire works for the Athens Banner Herald as a photographer. She has lead such an interesting life and has a very sweet spirit!
Haley was one of the community group leaders and a delight; she really thinks and questions things!
Have I mentioned Christina loves flowers?!
Sherry visited our room often! What an amazing young woman full of life and purpose. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer five years ago and her story of hope is inspiring.
Oh photo jumping.
Fun photo of Mal & me
I don't know where Tiffany or Mallory went...oh wait, this may have been taken while we were in line for food (gotta stay busy somehow when you are hungry). 
Global Lead interns Colleen & Allison
Olivia, Me, and Sarah Elizabeth! Love these girls!
Me, Colleen, and Chase (Stormers staff!)
I wish I could remember what was so funny!
The whole academic group, minus Montgomery who left for Greece the day before
Nikita cracks me up; she has such a great heart and was on the trip for ALL the right reasons
It was amazing to see the growth in Karishma over the last five weeks; Sammy is such a deep thinker; and Michelle is originally from Cape Town and it was incredible to see how she processed & experienced South Africa.
Karishma, Sammy, Michelle, and me
And last, but not least...Joanna, the program director for GL Cape Town (she's a keeper!)

Last Week in South Africa! :/

The last week was filled with lots of wonderful moments and it was the first time in weeks that all 143 students were back together!
Gerard's house where we had class
After class the academic staff went to the Mount Nelson hotel for High Tea! What a wonderful time!
Lori, me, and Mallory enjoying our tea and delicious treats (sweet and savory)
Our terrace overlooked the fountain and the grounds
Mallory taking a dive in the fountain
I became the holder of stuff :)
The academic staff (& Lori who we were happy to have!)
The Mount Nelson (from the backside)
The grounds were incredible.
After dinner I met up with some students at Bombay Bicycle. It's a fun restaurant that specializes both in ambiance and local South African cuisine.
Claire, Karishma, Michelle, and me

The chairs were swings hung from the ceiling!
So fun!

Although we didn't sit here for dinner; we got to snap a picture and sit as we waited for our taxi!

The taxi back was packed (21 people!) yikes! But it meant a cheap fare!
Wednesday: Final township celebration
All 143 students and staff headed back to the township for a final celebration. There were performances by both the global lead(ers) and the people from Sun City.  We also had a chance to visit with our family one last time. Each group was partnered with a soup mom or other family during our week.  Ms. Veronica and her family was our South African family for the week.
Emma, Kelly, Emily, Ms. Veronica, Anna Claire, me, and Elena
So sad about the shadow on Samatha's face. These are two of the young women I connected with throughout the week.  Baby Kelly is named after a former Global Leader.  Kaylee and Samantha are both extremely smart and I hope the best for them in their futures!
As we encouraged the students to think more about their transition back home, we did a poverty simulation to help them better understand poverty in the US. 

The reading rebels came and visited with us during class. The program (in Sun City) is supported by Global Lead. It targets students who are in gangs/fighting and hopes to turn them into productive members of society by giving them money in exchange for reading a book a month.  That evening I did some shopping and had dinner at the V&A waterfront.
Last amazing sunset
Friday night was then spent grading blue books!
Saturday: Old Biscuit Mill
Back to Old Biscuit Mill! Delicious latte!
If I haven't talked about the Chocolatire and the delectable homemade chocolate ice cream...there are no words for JUST how good it is! They would even pour chocolate shell on top. Yumm.
Claire, Haley, and me 
I talked everyone into ice cream. They didn't regret their decisions!
I was sad to say goodbye to Old Biscuit Mill, however, I'm sure all the delicious treats contributed to bit of extra weight I brought back with me from Cape Town ;)