Summer 2010 Challenge

Dear students,

We are hosting in-person Dissertation Houses at UMB, UMBC, and UMCP.  You are invited to join us for the online challenge by posting your goals and receiving feedback.

Best wishes and have a productive session!

-The Dissertation House staff

428 Responses to Summer 2010 Challenge

  1. renettatull says:

    It’s Monday morning! Welcome to today’s session of the Dissertation House on UMB’s campus. This morning, we are welcoming Antonia, Shannadora, Chris, Crystal, Doug, Sarice, Hermela, and Victor in the SMC at UMB. Good luck to all who are joining us!

    Best regards,
    Dr. Tull

  2. Shannadora Hollis says:

    I am working on the Background/Significance section.

  3. Antonia says:

    Today I wil be working on the outline for my 2nd manuscript…

  4. Sarice says:

    I’m here and ready to get started. Looking forward to doing my outline today! I’ve procrastinated long enough……

  5. Chris Willis says:

    Working on the introduction to get as far as possible.

  6. Doug Linn says:

    Today I will be compiling the figures for my thesis defense and writing some preliminary data interpretations for discussion section.

  7. Hermela says:

    Goal for 06-28: Work on outline for thesis proposal

  8. Hermela says:

    My goal for 6-28: Finish writing outline for thesis proposal

  9. Victor I. Ayala says:

    I will be completing my edits and discussion section for my first paper.

  10. C. Williams says:

    Hello Everyone!

    I’m currently working on my dissertation proposal and I intend to accomplish 3 goals on today. First, I’ll update my proposal outline or table of contents. Next, I’ll ‘attack’ my literature review by summarizing at least 15 articles (all the while writing the lit review). Lastly, as I am reviewing the articles I will also organize the articles by topic area – in hardcopy form and electronic form.

    Here’s to a productive day!

    C. Williams

    • renettatull says:

      You started with a large set of goals for one day! What did you accomplish and what do you have planned for today?

  11. Maya M says:

    Good morning!
    My goal for 6-28:
    -Begin converting chapter 3 (Methods) from proposal to dissertation format
    -Address co-author comments for my first paper (results and discussion sections)

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Maya,

      You know that Dr. Carter would ask you the question … “Did you reach this goal yesterday?” Thank you for joining us online. We miss seeing you in person. Please let us know if you converted Chapter 3 and if you’ve finished addressing the comments.

      • Maya M says:

        I meant to post this Monday afternoon: I did begin formatting my Methods chapter and work on the figures and discussion section for the manuscript on Monday. I will be able to resume writing after I complete medical school orientation this week. I wish I could have joined you in person! It was good to see everyone today at lunch!

        • renettatull says:

          Hi Maya,

          Please join us online this week as well!


          • Maya M says:

            Thanks, Dr. Tull. I’m back this week! Today’s goal was to finish addressing coauthor comments, and edit the introduction, results and discussion of the manuscript. I think I have the introduction and results in close to final form. For tomorrow, I have a few points to tweak in the discussion as well as formatting of the references. I would like to send the manuscript to coauthors for their second review by Thursday.

  12. Pingback: Summer Season for the Dissertation House « Renetta Garrison Tull – Living Life Online

  13. drcarter says:

    Welcome to the Dissertation House everyone. I look forward to working with everyone in the coming days and coming weeks.

  14. Dr. Judith Pollack says:

    Good morning everyone,
    Welcome to the first UMB Dissertation House on Campus, cosponsored by PROMISE and The Writing Center. We have 8 PhD students participating, all have written and shared their goals for the next three days. Best wishes to everyone and have a productive time.

  15. Chris Willis says:

    At the very least I want to finish the binding partners section within the introduction by the end of tomorrow (Tuesday)

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Chris,

      This sounds good. You might surprise yourself and finish this section earlier than anticipated. Think about how you might tackle the next item on your list so that your energy is put to good use.

  16. Shannadora Hollis says:

    Pretty productive day today. Tomorrow I will forge ahead with completing page 2 of the Background section.

    • renettatull says:

      As you work on page 2 of the Background, make sure that your full outline is in place so that you can gauge the volume and content of your document. I think that I saw TOC on your list. Remember that part of your goal.

  17. Doug Linn says:

    Tomorrow (June 29th), I will continue editing and organizing my compiled data from previous reports. I will also start incorporating this text into my thesis proposal.

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Doug,
      Be sure that you begin to incorporate the text by this morning. You may find that you’ll have to continue to edit and organize the data as it becomes part of the proposal. The proposal will be its own document, so you want to allow time and space for the data to fit into it. You might find that there are differences between the format/look/feel of the data for your report, and that of the proposal. In other words, don’t edit from the previous report and consider it “finished,” go ahead and incorporate the information into the proposal and work from that version.

  18. Sarice says:

    Very productive day at DH!! Got some things done that would likely not have been completed at this point. I’m not done though….ready for tomorrow 🙂

    June 29 Goals:

    -Add more to intro of chapter 3
    -Sort/Sift through intro for editing
    -Write up Figures (at least start)

    Good Luck to us all!!!

    • renettatull says:

      Adding figures can be fun! You should consider giving yourself a timeframe for this activity … for example, add/crop figures between 10 and 12. Don’t ponder over captions at this early stage. If you have a caption ready, put it in. Otherwise, add a placeholder “Figure X: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.” You can always highlight these empty captions so that you’ll know that you have to return to them. But you can have a tremendous sense of satisfaction by “core-dumping” your figures into your document and then taking time to sort and edit later. You may even have to remove some, but that’s ok.

    • Sarice says:

      Well I get to cross out a couple of the goals I set for myself which feels great! Tomorrow is another day with another set of challenges……

      June 30 Goals:
      -Finish up Figure write ups
      -Table of Contents

  19. Victor I. Ayala says:

    Tomorrow I will finish editing the introduction and discussion of my 1st manuscript. I will make sure that my sentences are written in active voice and avoid jargon. I will also check my citations.

    • renettatull says:

      Victor, will you do these things in this order? I would suggest picking one of the above as a starting point. For example, if you have great morning energy, plan to edit the introduction before the first coffee break, then work on the discussion. After lunch, you might consider checking the citations. Remember what we discussed yesterday at the end of the day. You want to maintain a comfortable environment.

  20. Juan C. Aponte-Santini says:

    I’m working on my thesis proposal. Working today on the experimental section.

    • renettatull says:

      Thank you for joining us from Puerto Rico! Set a goal for yourself when working on sections. For example, you can plan a goal of being sure to write-up a particular method by planning to include a bullet-point list of all equipment, chemicals, and software first, then writing about the process. Give yourself a goal, e.g. two methods today or 5 pages (draft, without worrying about spelling or grammar) by this afternoon.

  21. renettatull says:

    Good morning everyone!

    I enjoyed meeting and talking with you yesterday. I have meetings at UMBC this morning and I’m looking forward to attending a defense on UMB’s campus later this afternoon, but I will be able to join you in the DH for part of the day. As you post your comments today, please be sure to mention what you accomplished yesterday, and your plans for today. Also, please note that per your request, a “RESOURCES” section has been added to the toolbar menu of this website. Best wishes for success as you plan to meet or exceed today’s goals!

    -Dr. Tull

  22. Sarice says:


    Going to get started on today’s goals.

    June 29 Goals:

    -Add more to intro of chapter 3
    -Sort/Sift through intro for editing
    -Write up Figures (at least start)

  23. Hermela says:

    My goal for today is to work on the background section of my thesis proposal.

  24. C. Williams says:

    Yesterday, I was able to update the table of contents and summarize several articles. Today, I’ll continue to summarize articles and meet with the writing center for assistance with formatting.

    Looking forward to a productive day!

    • C. Williams says:

      Today – I received direction on the formatting, met with Dr. Carter about next steps, summarized more articles, and updated my literature review. I’m starting to feel like I’m making progress! Overall, it was a great day! I’m still in the literature review stage – so, tomorrow – you guessed it – I’ll focus on summarizing more articles. It’s getting easier, however, to exclude articles that won’t contribute much to the review. [This also means that my pace is increasing! :-)]

      Here’s looking forward to tomorrow!

  25. Victor I. Ayala says:

    This morning I had a great discussion with Dr. Carter about how to tackle and approach my first and second publications. I am about 80% done with the first one and 15% done with the second one. Dr. Carter gave me good advice on how to breakdown the writing into manageable parts and recommended that I put the document together in hard copy even though it is not complete. In addition, we discussed how the two papers will fit into the larger picture of my dissertation. I am glad I decided to attend dissertation house I really needed the help and advice. Thank you Dr. Carter for your time this morning!!!!

  26. Chris Willis says:

    Although I did not get as much new writing as I had hoped today, my meeting with Dr. Carter went very well and I have more clear cut goals for the editing process which will continue tomorrow along with the introduction.

  27. Doug Linn says:

    Tomorrow (June 30th) I will update my statement of work and create an outline to complete parts and chapters of my dissertation. This will help me keep track of my progress and visualize what I have to work on.

  28. juanky27 says:

    Working today on the Experimental Part Organization. Creating kind of an outline.

  29. Shannadora Hollis says:

    Meeting with Dr. Carter was very helpful yesterday. I will incorporate her feedback to improve other sections of my proposal and I will complete the Background/Significance section today.

  30. Good morning everyone!
    Today is the last day of UMB Dissertation House. It’s been quite intense in the last few days, but from your faces I can see that you are more excited, more invigorated, more alive! You were all so into your work that I had to kick you out of the room at the end of the day (again). Now you know what to do to maximize your work output (work 15 min a day, take breaks, eat well, sleep well, minimize distraction, overcome writers block, relax, use self-editing techniques). Keep up that energy!
    Before you leave today, please fill out your evaluation sheet. A good evaluation will point out both what went well, and what needs to be improved. We will use your feedback to support what we do the next time we offer Dissertation House.
    All the best to you all!

  31. Victor I. Ayala says:

    Yesterday afternoon I did some editing to my introduction, probably more than I intended to do originally. This morning I want to finish the discussion section and put the document all together electronically. At lunch I will printout everything so that I have a hard copy and put it into a binder. After lunch I will continue to edit the intro and discussion sections.

  32. Juanky says:

    I’m now working on some compound structures and inserting them on the script.

  33. Juanky says:

    Incorporating some tables to my script!! It looks better 😀

  34. renettatull says:

    Congratulations on working, even through the holiday! You’re on a roll!

  35. Shauna says:

    Hi all!
    I’ll be working on my lit review. I took the weekend off, but I’ve been working on it all summer. I’m looking forward to meeting with Dr. Carter and working on my outline. Good luck everyone.

  36. Susan Mitchell says:

    Hello! I’m back working on my dissertation after about an eight month break due to a family illness. I’m really looking forward to getting back to work. This week, I plan to prepare for a focus group that I will be conducting next week with participants from a software development organization. I need to transcribe a couple more audio interviews and draw accompanying “knowledge maps.” By the end of this week, I hope to have four knowledge maps drawn, and possibly have the time to combine them into one “project knowledge map.”

  37. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM Kerry on “UMBC’s Dissertation House begins Tuesday, July 6!”
    Kerry says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Good morning,

    This week, I will be working primarily on drafting the results of my analyses for Chapter 4. During the past several months, I have pooled the necessary datafiles, constructed/reconstructed the dataset, and run the descriptives, frequencies/crosstabs, and correlations to prepare for the multivariate work. This work has been done with regular input from my advisor and key committee member, and is finalized. The tables have been completed and approved, but the narrative text needs to be completed. As the dataset is currently complete, I would like to run he logistic regressions this week also if time permits as this is the final step of the data analysis. My advisor would like me to defend the dissertation in early fall/September and I have this deadline in mind as I am drafting/completing the results section.

    I have drafted a number of ideas/possibilities for Chapter 5: Conclusion, but will work on this closer to mid-July after Chapter 4 is done.

    I hope everyone has a great week!


  38. Tracy Irish says:

    Good morning,
    I am excited to be here and have time to focus on my dissertation.
    I will be editing my Ch 1: Introduction to completion and working on my Ch4: Methodology this week for an outline at least.

  39. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM YASAMAN on “UMBC’s Dissertation House begins Tuesday, July 6!”

    Yasaman says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    I am a second year PhD student in Computer Science. I’m excited because I plan to start writing the first draft of my proposal today. I plan to write my ideas that I have discussed so far. Also, I want to read and summarize 3 papers on the similar frameworks, and 3 papers on SCM.

  40. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM AMY on “UMBC’s Dissertation House begins Tuesday, July 6!”

    Amy says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Today is the first day of the dissertation house. I’m revising the tables for the results section. My advisor has a list of revisions for me to work through. Fun!

  41. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM SOUMI RAY ON “UMBC’s Dissertation House begins Tuesday, July 6!”

    Soumi Ray says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:09 AM (Edit)

    I am a PhD student in the Computer Science department. I plan to work on the background and related work section of my proposal for the next four days. I have selected six articles related to my PhD topic to read. I am going to write a summary of
    those papers and try to relate them to my work.

  42. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM PATRICK DOYLE ON “New Dissertation House Website.”

    Patrick Doyle says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Time to get started on what hopefully will prove to be a productive week of writing and reading for my dissertation proposal! This week should help to meet my deadline of September 7, 2010 for my proposal defense. Updates to come…

  43. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM JENNY LLOYD ON “UMB’s Dissertation House Starts Tomorrow.”

    Jenny Lloyd says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Just outlined my goals for the week and am ready to start working! It was difficult to pick just a few items that I wanted to accomplish because I want to get so much done but it was also helpful to be realistic and make smaller goals that I hope to actually finish.

  44. renettatull says:

    REPOST FROM SUSAN HANNUM ON “UMB’s Dissertation House Starts Tomorrow.”

    Susan Hannum says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    I am really excited to be participating in the Dissertation House this week; I have many goals that I would like to accomplish and this is the perfect avenue by which to meet these goals. Having just outlined my tasks for the week, I feel that I have a clear sense of the work that I will be doing throughout my time here and I am thankful to be in such a supportive environment!!!

  45. renettatull says:

    Good morning everyone!

    One thing that I’m noticing in the room is the presence of “focused silence.” I hear clicks on the computer, a few pages turning, and the sound of the air conditioner … a blessing in this 100+ degree weather.

    Congratulations on being focused and for coming with both a vision and a mission for getting your work done!

    -Renetta Tull

  46. Patrick Doyle says:

    Well I am glad that I was able to get a good start to the Summer 2010 UMBC dissertation house. I was able to check off my first “to do” on my list. In the process of completing the strategy section of my Methods chapter, I was able to address some comments made by my mentor in this chapter. I look forward to working on and completing the other goals I have set for these four days.


  47. Amy says:

    Today, I was able to expand my results section. I’ve included transitional words, and it’s starting to come together. Tomorrow, I will continue working on the tables. I may be able to finish them by tomorrow!

  48. Jenny Lloyd says:

    Today was productive! I revised my pre-proposal and submitted it to my graduate program. I also outlined my literature review and methods sections and began looking up variable names for concepts in Aim 1.

    Tomorrow I will meet with Dr. Carter to review my pre-proposal and outlines for my proposal. I hope to also start working on my literature review (search for articles on one section and try and summarize). I will also continue looking up variables for concepts from Aim 1 and start on Aim 2.

  49. Shauna says:

    I have been putting the key studies from my lit review into an excel table. This has been very helpful in terms of organizing my thoughts about the literature. My advisor had suggested this idea before, but I abandoned it due to technical issues. When Dr. Carter suggested it again, we troubleshot the technical problems and things are working out well.

    Tomorrow, I will be working on my poster. I hope to have it completed by the end of the day. If time permits, I will finish typing all of my article summaries into the excel file.

  50. Yasaman says:

    Tomorrow I’ll continue with writing my ideas, and elaborating more on the problem statement. Also, I should be able to move to lit review.

  51. Susan Mitchell says:

    I finished the whiteboard drawing that I needed for my meeting with one of my participants at 2:00. I conducted the meeting (it went very well). I’m now in the process of drawing the cleaned up diagram that resulted from the meeting. I’ll finish it first thing tomorrow morning, and then proceed on with the next item on my chart.

    Dr. C — Thanks for your help and support during our one-on-one!

    Susan M.

  52. Susan Hannum says:

    Today I was able to meet with Dr. Carter and gain a better understanding of what really needs to “happen” in chapter one! I also elaborated on some areas of my methods chapter that needed help and wrote a rough outline of the literature review (ch. 2)! Tomorrow, I hope to concentrate on finishing the additions to the methods chapter (ch. 3) and finish the outline for the literature review (ch. 2). I was really happy to have made progress today, and I look forward to getting one step closer to achieving my goals for DH tomorrow!

  53. Kerry says:

    Today, I completed necessary revisions to Chapter 3: Methods that occurred as I was running analyses and constructing the dataset these past few months. This included updating the new data files used, discussing briefly the weighting of the pooled sample, updating variable charts and revising analysis descriptions. There is a table in the Appendix that will need related updates also. I would like to complete this during the evening, and if this is not possible, first thing tomorrow a.m. I would like to begin working on Chapter 4 tomorrow.

  54. Huguens Jean says:

    Today was a productive day. I’m still feeling some of that writer’s block. Tomorrow I intend to continue to work on writing up the story for the graph Dr. Carter and I talk about in our one-on-one meeting. The graph is pretty much a tree which allows me to identify the specific areas where my research contributions will be coming from. I also intend to start organizing into an excel file the numerous papers I accumulated from past literature search. See you guys tomorrow.

  55. Patrick Doyle says:

    Day 1 in review:
    I was able to accomplish my first two tasks that I wrote out at the beginning of the day:
    – Finish methods for Aim 3 –> check
    – Complete a detailed outline for data collection –> check

    In addition to these things I was able to review some of the comments made by my dissertation chair within my methods section and address the issues which he brought to my attention.

    For tomorrow:
    – The first thing that I would like to address tomorrow is an issue about the consenting procedures for my proposed study. I have found an article which will help give me some background concerning consenting people participating in ethnographic research. I intend to read that article tonight and come in tomorrow prepared to address this issue in my proposal.

    – Once this first task is addressed I would like to complete the last ‘to do’ I wrote at the beginning of day 1: read 3 articles on organizational learning theory and type notes in the introduction where this information is relevant. When I have finished this task I will continue by expanding further on my notes on the theories that I am using in this proposal and write the summary section of my introduction.

    Until next time…


  56. says:

    Today was the first day of DISSERTATION HOUSE!! So far I have partially completed a literature search for my independent proposal (IP) and have placed references into an EndNotes library. Near the end of the workshop, I completed 5 slides ( title,aims, acknowledgments, 2 figure slides) for my DISSERTATION….I will admit these were no brainer slides but I am 5 slides closer to completing the presentation. Tomorrow my plans include finishing the literature search, completing an outline for the IP, and completing 5 more dissertation (no brainer) slides.

  57. Susan Mitchell says:

    Good morning! I’m tired, but ready to work. I don’t know why I went home and did housework until 9:00pm. I’m taking a nap when I get home today — my husband and son will have to fend for themselves!

    — Susan M.

  58. Dr. Carter says:

    Good Morning Everyone

    Welcome to day two of UMBC’s dissertation house and the summer 2010 challenge.
    It is a scorcher here in Baltimore 86 and it’s 9:00 am.

  59. Huguens Jean says:

    Back to business! I’m in the D-house about to get down…

  60. Susan Hannum says:

    And welcome to Wednesday! It’s amazing how tired I am after only one day– yet I am excited for all of the work that I have ahead of me for the remainder of this week. Today, I hope to finish the writing for my methods chapter … and here we go!

  61. Amy says:

    Another day of work…I’m planning on doing some of my small tasks today.

  62. Patrick Doyle says:

    It is the beginning of Day 2 and I am just happy that I take my coffee black and that I am inside not outside in the heat! I am prepared to get going and get writing today…


  63. Tracy Irish says:

    Good morning,
    I am glad to be back. I hope to finish my edits to chapter 1 and continue with my changes for my ch 3.
    ready to go…


  64. Shauna says:

    I’m here and ready to work on my poster!

  65. Sonnet says:

    Good morning!! I’m SOOOOOOOooo ready for DAY 2 in the Dissertation House

  66. Jenny Lloyd says:

    A bit tired today so it may be a slow start. I had a great relaxing evening but I haven’t yet switched gears. I hope to start my literature today (only a small part of it, because I’m trying to set small manageable goals for myself). I have a meeting with Dr. Carter in a bit which I am looking forward to, I really need an outside perspective on my work.

  67. Kerry says:

    Good morning,

    I found it refreshing yesterday to make revisions to Chapter 3, as I have focused solely on the data/dataset(s) for the past several months. Prior to the DH, I sent the final revised tables to my advisor for her review and this also helps in focusing on the writing changes I need to make since the proposal was defended/approved. The variables/analyses/datasets are familiar to me now (very different from when I initially defended the proposal) and it has been a bit quicker to write up what I know inside/out at this time. Last night, I revised and reformatted one of the appendix tables to conform with the revisions in variables/analyses. Today, I plan to finish Chapter 3 revisions, including: adding the variable descriptions, updating regression models, and revising the description of the analyses completed. By the end of the day or this evening, I would like to outline Chapter 4, which I believe will be a shorter task.

  68. Susan Mitchell says:

    OK. Well, it must be 200 degrees in here! But I’ve made good progress. I finished the final diagrams for two participants. And I’m halfway through drafting the diagram (from audio) for the third participant. I’ll finish it tomorrow morning and then move on to the fourth participant. Everybody keep cool!

    — Susan

  69. Soumi says:

    I now have an outline of my related work section which is helping me write this section in a structured form. I also fixed the bibliography section of my proposal. Today I had a constructive day 🙂

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Soumi,

      I’m glad that things worked well for you yesterday. I’m looking forward to seeing what updates you’ll post for today.


  70. Amy says:

    Tomorrow, I will work on the revisions that Dr. Carter and I discussed.

  71. Jenny Lloyd says:

    Despite so serious heat, I got some work done today. I really enjoyed meeting with Dr. Carter and getting her advice on how to organize my literature. I started working on my methods section today and got a lot done! I also really enjoyed the free writing time, although it made me realize how often I stop to check my email, correct misspelled words, or look stuff up, instead of just write! I will try and do more of that. Tomorrow I plan to continue working on my methods section and hope to make more progress..I also hope it wont be as hot in here tomorrow!!!

  72. Susan Hannum says:

    The end of day two! Today I feel as though I really accomplished a good amount, even if someone else may look at it and think that I didn’t do all that much. Today I fully outline and did some free-writing in my literature review. I also developed a spreadsheet for the literature review, organizing each “sheet” by topic area, which will help me when I am writing. I additionally finished fleshing out the remaining sections of my methods chapter and plan to send that off tomorrow for review. Tomorrow I plan to begin my literature review for support of the methods chapter.

  73. Yasaman says:

    I am going to work on my literature from tomorrow.

  74. Patrick Doyle says:

    End of day 2!

    It was a tough one today…struggled with writing and the heat but at least I still made progress. Hopefully tomorrow will flow better. The goal tomorrow morning is to read my Chapter 3 and make edits and additions to any parts necessary. After accomplishing this I am going to do the same for the first two sections for my Chapter 1 to tighten up those sections and improve the flow of that chapter. Maybe I can even get to the theory section of Chapter 1 tomorrow…we will see!


  75. Tracy Irish says:

    It is time to go – but I am not finished working today. I managed to get out and meet with one of my co-advisors today which led to the framework for my edits to ch 2. Yes!
    Also I set up a meeting with my co-advisors and my committee member assisting me with data analysis for next week. This has given me new energy to finish ch 1 edits tonight so I can send to the three of them to help frame the meeting next week.
    Tomorrow I hope to start edits on ch 2 and then at least a few hours on data analysis…

  76. Kerry says:

    Today, I finished a majority of the Chapter 3 revisions, including additional time on clarifying the variable descriptions, justification based on previous research for new variables and justification behind additional variable changes. I also included all reference groups utilized and the justification behind why/how the reference groups were determined. When it became too hot to continue with the regression revisions, I completed a detailed outline for Chapter 4.

  77. Sonnet says:

    Today started beautifully. I read and outlined (2)papers for my Independent Proposal(IP) and uploaded the dissertation template provided by UMBC starting the first phases of my dissertation (title, approval sheet, CV, and ect). However, less progress was made after lunch ( I think due to the heat). I was only able to complete 5 more slides of my dissertation presentation ;(. Tomorrow I will do better. I plan to outline (3) papers for my IP, complete 2-3 slides, start the Introduction for my dissertation ( Im very afraid).

    See Everyone tomorrow


  78. Huguens Jean says:

    Day two is over. Tomorrow, I will be working on the method section of the proposal. This is something I discussed with Dr. Tull and we both thought that it should not be too hard to write. I actually did some serious writing today. Feels good. Let’s keep it going. Oooow!!!

    • renettatull says:

      Keep it going Huguens! Tomorrow, I’ll look for those two extra pages that we discussed. You’re doing it!


  79. Maya M says:

    I’m still hanging in there with you all online! Today was very productive! I finished my revisions to the introduction, results and discussion of the manuscript I’ve been working on, as well as formatted the text, figures and references according to the target journal’s format. I also sent it off to my advisor for her review! This evening’s reward: a Chick-Fil-A Cookies and Cream Milkshake. :o)

    • drwendycarter says:

      Good for you Maya. I strongly believe in rewarding oneself after you have met your goals. I am so addicted to sugar that I can truly understand that reward. Hang in there and keep it going. What’s on tap for tomorrow? What are your goals and what will be your rewards? You should know these things ahead of time. We will still be in the DH tomorrow join us again.

  80. Susan Mitchell says:

    Good morning (I think)! I’m sure that I’ll be productive today, but it’s going to take me a bit to get going. I hear other participants saying that they’re in a slump right now also. Anyway, I plan to finish my knowledge map (diagram) for participant A2 this morning and hopefully finish the map for a fourth participant. If I get that far, I may be able to listen to a couple of more audio tapes by the end of the dissertation house.

  81. Susan Hannum says:

    I’m seriously draggin’ this morning! I am hoping that I get an energy kick relatively soon and can get moving. My goals for today is to start adding references to my methods section and fleshing out the material there.

  82. Patrick Doyle says:

    This morning we are talking about writer’s block. I have a feeling that this may be a helpful topic for the day…

    I hope that this coffee will wake me up and invigorate me to accomplish a lot of work today!


  83. Tracy Irish says:

    Day three has started and so far it is not as hot so its already a better day. Today I will finish chapter 1 and send it off to my advisor. I have four new articles to read for my lit review edits.

  84. Amy says:

    I’m making Dr. Carter’s revisions today.

  85. Huguens Jean says:

    I’m logging in… DHouse Day 3 is in session.

  86. Jenny Lloyd says:

    Even more tired today!!
    I hope to get more of my draft methods section done today. I will admit, its hard to keep the motivation up and anxiety about my project down. But its great going through this with other people. Here’s to a productive Thursday 😉

  87. Shauna says:

    I forgot to blog in this morning, but I’m here. I finished my poster last night. And today I’m working on providing a rationale for looking at depressive symptoms vs. diagnoses.

  88. Tracy Irish says:

    Today’s headache turned into a bit more of an issue. So, hopefully I will be able to get going again tonight to complete ch 1.
    I did organize my new articles for my edits to the lit review (ch2); I used an outline form similar to the chart model that Dr. Carter showed us today.

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Tracy,

      I hope that you’ll feel better tomorrow. I’m sure that the heat isn’t helping, but we’re scheduled to have lower temperatures throughout the rest of the week. Apparently you worked through the pain. Tenacity is good, but you still have to take care of yourself. Rest well tonight.


  89. Susan Mitchell says:

    OK, I’ve had it for the day! But I was very productive. I finished the diagram (my main goal for today), and I did a little bit more transcribing. If I finish the fourth diagram tomorrow, I’ll be ecstatic. I have a meeting with my advisor tomorrow at 1:00. I’m anxious to tell her how far I’ve gotten. I also get to pick up my new laptop from my department tomorrow! Have a good evening everyone!

    — Susan

  90. Amy says:

    I’ve made a few revisions today. The most important of which was organizing my results section. In some ways, it feels like more of a mess, but the headings allow me to keep the sections concise and not overwhelm the reader. Tomorrow, I plan to continue to work on revisions for both Dr. Carter and my advisor.

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Amy,

      You’re making progress. The headings will also help you with flow and consistency.


  91. Susan Hannum says:

    It’s the end of day three and it is amazing how tired, stressed, and just plain worn out I am! It’s a good thing, though, because this means I’ve been working hard and that I’m closer to meeting my goal! Tomorrow I hope to work more on finding supporting literature for my method’s chapter.

    • renettatull says:


      You’ve put in time and effort, so being tired is understandable! I’ll look forward to seeing your completed list tomorrow. Enjoy resting for a while this evening.


  92. Sonnet says:

    Day 3 is ending. Today started off slow but I gained momentum as the day progressed. Of my 4 goals for the week, one of the four has been completed……YEAH… I was also able to define 3 specific aims for my IP, allowing me to do a better literature review/search. Overall today was a good day. Again I say Yeahhhhh!!!


  93. Jenny Lloyd says:

    The intensity of this program got to me today! Although I was a busy bee in the morning session (filling in variable names for my concepts and reviewing literature for my methods section), I had to take a break from the afternoon session because I became overwhelmed, anxious, and couldn’t regroup without some distance from the project. So instead of working on content this afternoon, I completed my table of contents, re-read through the Dissertation House materials, and tried to calm down. All and all I still got a lot done, but I need to work on more items to add to my 15 min list so I can move to a different (less stressful) item when I get anxious again. That is my goal for Friday, to write a nice long list of things to work on and break them up into small-manageable pieces. I can’t believe the week is almost over!

  94. Shauna says:

    I didn’t get good sleep (stayed up late working on a poster) and was cranky so today wasn’t one my most productive days. My meeting with Dr. Carter however was very productive. When we sat down, I was able to talk about my vision of the research and she helped me map it out into an organized outline. We also set a goal and I plan to finish my literature review by August 6th. I am very happy to have a deadline, and feel motivated to do whatever it takes to get it done by that date.

    • renettatull says:

      August 6! Ok, we see it posted. This is good. You are now inviting everyone to check-in with you and join your plan to stay on track.

  95. Sonnet says:

    Ok so Tomorrow, I will be outlining my final 2 papers, finishing up my outline for my IP with references. I forgot to post this info with my previous comment

    I’ll see everyone tomorrow!!!
    Sonnet (again)

  96. Yasaman says:

    It was a productive day. I applied feedbacks to my slides. I have still a little left for tomorrow and a table for my lit-review.

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Yasaman, I missed seeing you this morning. Let’s plan to chat before the end of the day tomorrow. I’d like to look at your progress.

  97. Kerry says:

    Today, I met with Dr. Carter, reviewed current progress, and received advice for additional changes. I drafted the introductory section for Chapter 4, and drafted two additional tables for Chapter 4 based on the discussion with Dr. Carter. Tomorrow, I plan to continue with drafting the narrative for the characteristics of the sample and the two new tables.

  98. Patrick Doyle says:

    Well on Day 3 I was able to get a lot of grunt work done on my dissertation. While there were not many pages written, I do have a sense of accomplishment from my work day. Tomorrow I am planning to start with reading my theory articles in the morning and then I will dedicate the afternoon to writing about how the theories apply to my project. If that is completed, I will have finished Chapter 1. Fingers crossed.

    See everyone in the morning.


    • renettatull says:

      Excellent Patrick! You’re making good progress. You crossed off of your list on the first day. Kudos!

  99. drwendycarter says:

    Day 3 of UMBC Dissertation House is over; our last and final day is tomorrow. A recent graduate student in Michigan likened to the Dissertation House experience as similar to hiring a personal trainer. She suggests that when you go to the gym on a regular basis you think that you are really working out by spending 30 minutes on the treadmill or the stair climber. When you hire a personal trainer you realize that you really had not been working out at all; you had just been going to the gym. Similarly, prior to the DH you think that you have been working on your dissertation all along but when you attend a DH you realize that you have not been working very hard at all. The DH really shows you what it means to work on your dissertation everyday and in a consistent manner.

  100. Soumi says:

    I had to leave an hour early today because of my dry eyes. It was troubling me from the morning but became worse in the afternoon. Still I got 50% of the work I had planned for today done. I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Carter tomorrow and showing her the changes I made in my related work section and getting her feedback. For tomorrow I plan to write the summary of the articles I read today.

  101. Juanky says:

    When I go from page 1 through page 25 it looks great…I need to fix some things but it’s looking professional LOL!

    • renettatull says:

      Now this sounds good … 25 pages! Congratulations Juanky! Make sure that you take a look at other proposals that have come through your lab (that your advisor has approved!) so that you will understand the specific structure that is expected. For example, does your proposal need to have Specific Aims? Does it need to have hypotheses in the first chapter? Should each chapter have the structure of a short journal paper? How are proposals structured in your lab at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras?

  102. Patrick Doyle says:

    Good morning!

    It is the final day of dissertation house!! It is time to cross that final task off my ‘to-do list’…

    Hopefully I can do that and accomplish some other things today. I am optimistic.


  103. Susan Mitchell says:

    Good morning! Tired again. I see my advisor today — I’m excited about telling her what I’ve accomplished. I also now have *many* questions for her. I think that I’ll finish all of the goals that I set for myself for the dissertation house. Feels good.

    — Susan

  104. Tracy Irish says:

    Good morning – last day at dissertation house.
    I am ready to go. I have the last 10 % of ch 1 to work on and then I will continue work on my literature review outline to highlight my edits needed.
    I am feeling positive about today’s work.

  105. Sonnet says:

    It is the final day of dissertation house and I am ready to get started


  106. Amy says:

    I’m still revising!!! I’ve been really pushing to get my results section. I’d like to have it 90% complete by the end of the day tomorrow, but I’m afraid that is unrealistic.

  107. Kerry says:

    Today, I will work on drafting the characteristics of the sample in Chapter 4 which is fairly detailed as it includes all of the crosstabs for the individual disability categories/groups that I using. If time allows, I would like to begin drafting the correlation results (or will finish this weekend). I have a number of smaller tasks/changes that need to be made, but will work on these during the weekend when I have all of my materials/resources available from home. I seem to be making continual revisions as I go, and these can be fairly time consuming/distracting. I have started highlighting areas for change (in either red font or yellow highlights) and then go back to work on them all at once, it seems to be a little more efficient to do this.

  108. Jenny Lloyd says:

    I plan to finish strong today. I want to work on one item that I’m less than excited to work on. I think it would be so great to get it past me in this environment because it would be so much harder to focus on when I don’t have this program’s support. So I will be tackling my methods section more today (even if I just write intro sentences and map it out, I think that will help me later).

  109. Susan Hannum says:

    Today I am planning to search the literature more for my methods chapter. And trying to keep my stress in check a bit! 🙂

  110. Jenny Lloyd says:

    Today I continued work on my methods section, identified more variables for my analysis, updated my time line, added more sections to my lit review outline, and set up goals for next week.

    It has been a great week. I really moved forward on my dissertation but more importantly I have obtained so great skills for keeping this progress up after today. My perspective on how to work on my dissertation has changed, for the better, and I feel very confident I will be successful in continuing hard work on the project. Thank you for all the advice and support!

  111. Susan Mitchell says:

    I finished all but my last task! I’m actually more than halfway through with it. Plus I did a few small things when I just needed to change tasks for a little while. A *very* productive week! Thank you soooooo much Drs. C and T!

    — Susan

  112. Susan Hannum says:

    Today I worked on making edits to my methods chapter and also adding some content to both the background and lit review chapters.

    All in all, I had a great week and I moved well beyond where I would have otherwise. I agree with statement made above by Jenny Lloyd that, as an outcome of my participation in the DH this week, I take with me some amazing skills for managing the work load associated with a dissertation and hope to continue to make this level of progress in the coming months. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to learn about myself, my topic, and the dissertation process; this is an amazing opportunity that you provide to students!

  113. Kerry says:

    The week has been productive, and I moved ahead in two important areas (1) revising and expanding the methods chapter after beginning the analyses, and (2) beginning to write up the results. Overall, I wrote about 10 pages, and revised about 15 pages during this week. Thank you!

  114. Yasaman says:

    I had a productive day. Thank you Dr. Carter, and Dr. Tull.
    I hope I finish my proposal soon, and then start counting down for the final defense!

  115. Patrick Doyle says:

    End of four long days and in the end it was clear a great success! Thank you all for helping me move forward. Now it is time to finish the proposal by September 7th by myself. I will be thinking about everyone and all of the advice.


    • renettatull says:

      I know that you planned to take a short break, but please plan to join us online during the UM College Park Dissertation House next week. It may help to know that you’re not alone. Sept. 7 — you’ll be ready!


  116. Soumi says:

    The Dissertation House was a great learning experience. I hope to keep this momentum going. I would like to thank you all for your advice and suggestions. It was very helpful.

  117. Sonnet says:

    I had an extremely productive week. Before joining dissertation house, I was making little to NO progress on my independent proposal. As dissertation house comes to a close, I have chosen a topic, defined 3 specific aims, and created a detail outline ( with references). Steps have been taken in regards to the DISSERTATION document as well. All the filler pages are complete (approval sheet, title page, CV, acknowledgements, and dedications). Overall ITS BEEN GREAT!!! The commons is closing so this comment is a bit rushed but I will continue the schedule and blog next week with UMCP.

    Have a GREAT weekend everyone


  118. Victor I. Ayala says:

    I am at the SSC getting some writing done. I will be working on my paper editing the results section.

    • renettatull says:

      Congratulations Victor! It sounds like you are taking advantage of that Monday Dissertation House “Alumni” session! Are others working along with you? Thank you for blogging in. It’s good to know that you are editing the results. Have you fully completed the Introduction and Discussion sections that you were working on 2 weeks ago?


  119. Dora says:

    This year, I will be doing the online challenge instead of participating in person, like last year. I wasn’t willing to cut my vacation short to attend DH, whereas last year I was willing to do that. I wonder what that says about my motivation/commitment level this year versus last year at this time. At least I’m still working, right?

    This morning finds me working in the room above the garage in my in-laws’ house in Maine. I am looking out the window at the forest – I hope it will serve as a source of calmness/inspiration as I tackle the “Description of the Problem.” Good luck to all.

    • renettatull says:

      Dear Dora,

      We see you at Dr. Carter’s office faithfully on Fridays and the fact that you are participating online during a visit to your in-laws shows that you ARE dedicated! Enjoy the scenery and change of environment. Maine is beautiful! Soak it all in while you continue to work on your dissertation. Be sure to blog everyday as a sign of your commitment, even while you’re away. We’ll be looking for your updates!

      Best regards,
      Renetta Tull

  120. Jackie says:

    I am here at UMCP, and I’m looking forward to getting down to business. I’m happy to do so in such in such good company.

    • renettatull says:

      Welcome Jackie!

      You had one of the first one-on-one morning meetings yesterday. What were you able to accomplish during your first day in the DH? Did any of your goals or directions change after your meeting? Please update us in your next blog post.

      Wishing you a productive day!


  121. Hello Fellow Travelers!
    I am here at UMCP ready to start.
    This week I would like to:
    1. Read 10 articles.
    2. Write 10 summaries for my annotated biblio.
    3. Add 10 articles to my spreadsheet

    Wish me luck!

  122. Maritza says:

    Good morning Everyone!
    I am really looking forward to a productive week at DH!
    This week I hope to be editing my lit review outline, particularly integrating the parent issues. I also plan to summarize Brofenbrenner’s eco. model.
    Good luck to everyone joining us!

    • renettatull says:

      Hello Maritza!

      It was great to see you; thank you for making space for me at your end of the table. How is the editing going? Your book on “The Ecology of Human Development” looked very interesting! I’d love to read a section of your summary of Brofenbrenner’s model … feel free to post it in your next blog entry.


      • Maritza says:

        Hello Dr. Tull,
        You responded at 4 o’clock in the morning! Thank you for your commitment to my (our) success, it really means a lot =) Yes, the book is actually very interesting; However, I realize that this was quite an amitious project. In that book, Bronfenbrenner has 50 hypothesis, numerous propositions, definitions for each of the micro, meso, exo and macrosystems and their interdependence in the human development. I am currently in the chapter discussing the interconnecteness between the microsettings (home and school). Basically how children develop through an array of interrelationships within their “microssystems” or settings at the local say home/neighborhood, state, national levels. Since I am interested in working with the education of immigrant students– all of these settings are pretty significant so this model is really useful.
        Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow! Have a great day!


        • renettatull says:

          Hello Maritza,

          Are there a series of variables within the home-school setting such that this “microsystem” is actually macro? For example are there more detailed interactions between parents, teachers, siblings, aides, peers, as well as maintenance, clerical, and culinary staff members that would alter the model? I’m just curious. I’ll look forward to learning more.

          Take care!


  123. Charlotta says:

    Good Mornig, I am happy to be here at UMCP getting some strength and encouragement from the PROMISE staff and the other participants! Thanks in advance.

    • renettatull says:

      Hello Charlotta!

      Well, you’ve now had one full day in the Dissertation House. What are your goals and what have you accomplished so far? Please let us know in your next post. We look forward to continuing to encourage you! Also remember that you have a full staff of “encouragers” within the Graduate School in Dr. Carol Parham, Dr. Tamara Wilds Lawson, and Dr. Kristen Hodge. Remember to continue to connect with them even after the Dissertation House ends.


  124. Margaret says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am participating in the “Dissertation house” today and I am so thankful to Dr. Carter, the Graduate School and those who have organized this program. In these four days I would like to accomplish the following:
    (1) Complete my SAS codes (2) review my methods with one of my committee members; (3) meet with my advisor to decide on the date of my candidacy exam, (4) read 2 articles on discriminant analysis.
    Good luck to you all,


    • renettatull says:

      Hello Margaret,

      Welcome to the DH! When are your appointments for #2 and #3 on your list? Connecting with your committee and your advisor is a good use of time during the DH. If you’re able to meet with Dr. Carter prior to your meeting, be sure to ask her to give you tips regarding having an agenda for your advisor.

      Are you completing your SAS codes first and then planning to read your articles, or are you working on both daily? Where are you in the process? Please update us in your next blog post.


  125. Michelle says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I am happy to be a dissertation house once again! As usual we a have a to do list. Here are the things that I intend to accomplish this week

    -Write Table of Contents
    -Read and Summarize 2 articles
    -Finish Introduction
    -Finish Background
    -Write Significance of Research
    -Theory/Guiding Framework

    All the best to everyone.


    • renettatull says:

      Hi Michelle,

      You’re a pro and you know the process. Your list is long and aggressive, but it can be done. What were you able to accomplish yesterday?


  126. Christy says:

    Goals are set…time to work!!! Today I am beginning with creating an outline of my dissertation (probably should have done that at the very beginning :). This endeavor will be followed by reading examples of chapter 2 within completed dissertations and outlining my very own chapter 2.

    Sooooo happy to be here!

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Christy,

      Welcome! Where are you in the process after a full day in the DH? Have you finished reading examples and are you now working on your outline? We’ll look forward to an update.


      • Christy says:

        Good Morning!

        As of the beginning of Day 3, I have read my examples and completed an outline of my Chapter 2. Today, I will begin drafting the chapter.

        We did the 2 minute speking exercise this morning…nerve racking, but very, very helpful!

        • Christy says:

          Tomorrow is my last day at DH 😦 I will focus on completing my draft of Chapter 2, as well as continuing to move through the Proposal Cookbook!

  127. krturpie says:

    Hello Everyone,

    It is good to be here in College Park for Dissertation House. I look forward to building momentum and making any course corrections that I may need with the guidance of Dr. Wendy Carter and the PROMISE Staff. I do appreciate that they have made this opportunity available.


    • renettatull says:

      Welcome Kevin!

      I enjoyed meeting you during the lunch hour. Thank you for your help with the tables. How did you progress over the course of the day?


      • krturpie says:

        Good morning,

        Well, as the fog lifts from my sleepy head this morning, I see that I wrote in my notebook that some of the fog was lifting from my thesis and where I had left off. So, I’d say it was a productive day.


        • renettatull says:

          Hi Kevin,

          I think that it would be helpful if you described your progress in some detail. I’m happy to hear that you were productive, but specifically, what did you accomplish? I’m looking forward to reading your update.

          Renetta Tull

  128. Elizabeth says:

    Goal 7/20: Finish writing table of contents for my dissertation proposal.

  129. Alexis Williams says:

    Finally checking in. Met with Drs. Carter, Tull, AND Wilds Lawson this morning and feel so much better than I did coming in.

    Dr. Carter wants me to revise my introduction to my proposal so I am working on that this afternoon. Also I will print out an article by the author of the framework that I am using for her to help me with my research questions that I am revising.

    This week’s goals are for me to 1) revise my outline for Chapter 2, 2) Summarize five articles on two of my major theoretical constructs (teacher efficacy and emotions/burnout), and 3) Answer questions from my committee that are relevant for my Chapter 2.

  130. drwestmoreland says:

    All is going well today. 2 out of 10 papers read. 2 out of 10 papers summarized. Paper number 3 has been located and I am just waiting for the printer. While I wait I will look for paper number 4 so I can be ready to go in the morning. All is well.

    • drwestmoreland says:

      This is my final update for today. I printed paper number 3 and I will starts reading the paper in the morning and write a summary. I hope to complete 4 papers tomorrow. Hope. I know I can read a little faster, I got sleepy after lunch today. OKay. Time to go to church now. Bye Bye.

      • renettatull says:

        Hi Nikki,

        So you have 3 of 10 finished after the first day … great progress! It sounds like you are well on you way to completing your goal. Are you writing annotated bibliographies as part of your summarization? If not, you might consider it as a method of summarizing. It helps to be able to see (at a glance) the background, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion for each paper that you’re reading.

        A 10-minute walk can jump start your energy. Consider something fast and simple like walking down the stairs and out of the Stamp’s side door, then going around the corner and returning to the building via a different entrance … perhaps on the opposite side near the Nyumburu Center.

        Best wishes tomorrow.


        • drwestmoreland says:

          Dr. Tull,

          I never thought about writing them like that. That is a good idea that will help me in the long run. My plan is to use the annotation and insert them directly into my literature review. So when I write them I am very careful about my voice and if I need to quote something specifically I put it in quotes.

          Thanks for the wake-up suggestions. I will try that today after lunch.

          • renettatull says:

            In that case, your way could work (since it is going to be a direct insert.) However, note that there may be some instances, even within the lit review where you will refer to a paper more than once as it quantifies, refutes, or complements other research. In other words, a lit review doesn’t always read like a paragraphed/annotated listing of articles. They may be intertwined.

            For the record, you can cut/paste an annotated bibliography also, just remove the headings.

            Best wishes for great productivity today!

  131. Alexis Williams says:

    Good evening, D-House folks! Today I rewrote my intro paragraphs for my proposal and started revisions to my Chapter 2 outline. Tomorrow I need to continue to reorganize and clarify my Chapter 2 content, including the placeholders for my committee’s questions that I need to remember to answer.

    This is just what I needed!

  132. Elizabeth says:

    Work accomplished 7/20: Proposal Dissertation – Table of Contents (Final Draft)
    Goal 7/21: Complete my Proposal Dissertation – Problem Statement

    • renettatull says:

      Great job Elizabeth! I enjoyed talking with you during the lunch hour. Feel free to post your problem statement tomorrow.


  133. Pingback: Health and Wellness Thoughts for Grad Students – Inspired by the University of Maryland College Park’s Dissertation House « Renetta Garrison Tull – Living Life Online

  134. renettatull says:

    Good morning everyone!

    I won’t be with you today but I continue to cheer you on! After I replied to your posts, I wrote a post for my personal blog regarding health and wellness. You are welcome to read it here: Take good care of yourselves and I’ll look forward to seeing your progress online and to talking with you in person at the end of the week.

    Best regards,
    Renetta Tull

  135. Juan C. Aponte-Santini says:

    I went on vacations and today I’m heading to Colorado for the ACS Summer School…but I will keep on track…a few hours from Puerto Rico to Colorado will let me have some time for my proposal hehehe.

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Juan! Thanks for checking in. I hope that you enjoy your time in the states. Let us know what you do on your proposal. Do you need to have specific aims for chemistry at UPR? If so, how many do you have in your proposal?

      Safe travels!


      • Juan C. Aponte-Santini says:

        YES! I have aims. Well I have two proposals, on the Organic Synthesis one I have three, on the Chemistry Education I have five. I just got here to Denver. Exited about this new experience. I worked on the plane some schemes of the proposal until I got dizzy hehehe. 😀 Thanks and will keep in touch 😀

        • renettatull says:

          Hi Juanky,

          Welcome to the states! Enjoy Denver. Congrats on working on the plane; you made good use of your time. By the way, I plan to be back in Puerto Rico this Fall and will talk with Dr. Montes about stopping by the lab. Keep up the progress!

          Take care,

  136. Dr. Carter says:

    Good Morning All,

    Welcome to another day in the DH. As I have said many times, I am not a morning person and I struggle to get two sentences together before 10am. Nonetheless, today provides you with another opportunity to get it right or almost right. Even if you have not done anything all summer, you can do something today. Stop wasting time with regrets about what you did not do and focus on 15 minutes. Can you spare 15 minutes
    today to work on your dissertation? Can you create your cover page? Can you download the deadlines from the graduate school? can you create a page for your abstract? You can do something? Can you input 5 citations in your bibliography? Even if you are spending the day watching televison what can you get done during the commercials?

  137. Michelle says:

    Good Morning,

    It’s day 2 of UMCP Dissertation House. Yesterday I did the following:

    -read 6 articles and summarized three
    -drafted a table of contents
    -worked on my introduction
    -Updated my references in Endnote
    -Backed up my files on an external hard-drive

    Goals for Today
    -Revise on Introduction
    -Revise Table of Contents
    -Work on background

  138. drwestmoreland says:

    Good Morning,

    I am ready to start working today. Breakfast has been had and papers are ready to read. I am reading the bible in one year and I read this morning which has cleared my mind. I usually read at night but I am glad I read this morning today. Today I plan to read 4 papers and (hope) to summarize them all. I am trying to be ready to fill out my spreadsheet by Thursday afternoon/Friday morning so when I meet with Dr. Carter I can show her where I really am in the literature review.




    • drwestmoreland says:

      One paper down…Just wanted to post my inspiration for when I finish my proposal. Dr. Carter said we should reward ourselves so I decided this is what I will be looking forward to when I complete my proposal hopefully in the Fall 2010. (**insert picture of black LV Alma Bag** YUMMY) Back to work.

  139. Charlotta says:

    Yesterday I finally got an approval from my advisor on my topic which has been a long time coming! When I left here yesterday I ran home to let my husband know what I needed and how he could help me as well as how we can deal with me when I am frustrated. Today I will continue to read articles for background information and search for additional articles as well.

    Good day to all!

  140. Angel Love Miles says:

    Good morning everyone. It’s great to be back at Dissertation House. Today, I am working on editing and completing my concept paper, which is part of the tasks I was assigned by my committee after passing my proposal defense in May. I am looking forward to completing a full and productive week at DH. Even though this is my 2nd time, I can’t hear Dr. Carter’s advise enough. Thanks to all the Promise Staff for all of their help and support so far. Best wishes everyone!

  141. Maritza says:

    Good morning Everyone!
    Today I will continue to work on reading and summarizing the ecology of human development model. I will also include additional sections to my lit review outline.
    Looking forward to a productive day!

  142. Alexis Williams says:

    Good morning!

    Yesterday evening I finally sent an email to my advisor about my proposal. It was something I had been struggling to get myself to do for several weeks but couldn’t get up the nerve. I was empowered by the day’s experience and especially my meeting with Dr. Carter.

    After meeting with Dr. Tull and Dr. Wilds Lawson, I was able to work up the nerve to tell my mom that I wouldn’t be able to be a part of a group that she had started and which was turning into another commitment for me. Why are moms the hardest ones to say no to??

    Today I will continue working on my outline for Chapter 2. I was able to get it into good shape yesterday afternoon, so I will add some details based on some of the articles that I am summarizing and questions that my committee asked of me.

    Let’s go! As Dr. Carter said this morning, “Quit after you’re Ph.inished.”

  143. Jackie says:

    Good Morning! After an hour with Dr. Carter yesterday, I took a giant leap in rearranging my Introduction and Literature Review chapters. I worked on a more focused outline presenting my big picture contribution in the Introduction. I used a graphic organizer to work out the Literature Review. The next step is to write it out in my own voice. I wish that I had figured this out before. . . but I am moving forward.

  144. Manouchka Poinson says:

    Good morning to all,

    Today I will work on revising 2 sections of my 3rd chapter.

  145. krturpie says:

    Good morning,

    Sorry that I haven’t given the blogging thing as much attention as I should have. Being a bit old fashion, I’ve been writing things down in my notebook. However, per Dr. Tull’s prompt above, here is what’s I had recorded so far,

    Initial Goals:

    1) Write the first chapter of the dissertation.
    2) Revise dissertation outline.
    3) Update reflectance model.

    Day 1
    I reviewed my dissertation proposal and the last (and only… they’re a hard bunch to get together) committee meeting presentation (and the committee’s input… which was minimal). My intention was to re-capture and re-evaluate the direction the research has taken (i.e., how did get here and am I still on the right track?).

    I also reviewed my dissertation outline and compared it with the information mentioned above. As it turns out, and perhaps not surprisingly, they do not match completely. As I recall, I had started with a very focused idea, but over time the committee, as committees often do, added various concepts and some of the focus was lost. Nonetheless, after my proposal defense, I did successfully get the committee to agree to some modifications to the research at my first dissertation committee meeting, which helped narrow the goals. (Just writing down my recollections here).

    The rest of Day 1, I began writing down the basic concepts, questions, and problems that defined the research — as I think that they should be now. I have a looked at this topic for a while, and based on this exercise, I feel that I can probably better pull the material in the proposal and the modifications together; certainly better than it was originally described in the proposal.

    Day 2
    I am returning to my writing and my hope is to pull together a fairly good description of the thesis work by this afternoon. That should drive the writing of Chapter 1 and help me to revise the outline. For Chapter 1, I also hope to pull text from my proposal (and concepts from various other presentations and posters) to help build the description.

    At this point, I’m not so sure that I’m going to get to item 3# on my Initial Goals, but we’ll see. But, I’d feel immensely better if I am comfortable with the research description; knowing that its goals are more clearly defined. That is my priority for this week.

    Sorry about the length of this entry and any unnecessary detail; future blogs should be more frequent and shorter.


  146. Angelo Gomez says:

    Working on the editing of Chapter Two

  147. Dora says:

    Working in less than ideal conditions, but still getting work done. Yesterday the internet went down in the afternoon. The good thing was it forced me to work on the things in Chapters 1 and 3 that didn’t require internet access. The bad thing was that it still wasn’t up once I got through all the non-internet “stuff.” Today I am at a Starbucks while my mother-in-law runs an errand. Not sure how long I’ll get to work here before we head to a relative’s house – where there will be about 8 kids under the age of 11 running around. Try working under those conditions! Hope I don’t have to, though, because the house is a cottage on the Maine ocean. I want to just watch the ocean with a drink in my hand, not with a laptop in front of me!

    Yesterday, I did get through the “Description of the Problem” (Hurray!) and moved on to Chapter 3. I had someone look at my chapters and I’m working my way through the comments. The next immediate goal (I learned at least year’s DH to keep my goals small a.k.a. realistic) is to add a demographic description of my research site. I feel good about where I am at with these two chapters. My big goal for the week is to get Chapters 1 and 3 to my advisor by Friday. She said to get these to her in July and it’s already July 21st.

    Good luck to everyone today.

  148. Christy says:

    I am off to a great start today! My meeting this morning with Dr. Carter assisted me to clarify my ideas/expectations of what I have found to be a very unique dissertation committee for my department. Time to focus on completing my outline for Chapter 2.

  149. drwestmoreland says:

    The day is about to be over and I am 5 papers down into my 10! (Hurray!!!) But I am stuck because I need something out of my office. Boo. But I did extra things to make up the time like looking for more papers. Now I have a small dilemma because I am going to miss the afternoon session tomorrow I will have to make up some time tonight. Things I hope to accomplish before 9am tomorrow:

    1. Insert paper titles into my spreadsheet
    2. Check 1 source to see if I read that paper already
    3. Check another source to see if I read that paper already
    4. Print Author: Ball paper in my office (it’s kind of lengthy)
    5. Find Author: Sobek paper in my office on my desk somewhere
    6. Print the 5 summaries I completed so far
    7. Add the 5 summaries I completed so far into the spreadsheet
    8. Print my *new* version of spreadsheet and tape it together again


    Time to get ready to leave and go to my office to do a few things before I go to church.

    Thanks dissertation house for a productive 2 days!!! We should have dissertation house all the time. (LOL)



  150. krturpie says:

    Today I completed the exercise of reviewing components of the dissertation problem. Spoke with Dr. Carter today and was able to clarify a strategy for getting started. In particular, I am changing my focus to outlining the first paper (i.e., Chapter 2). The approach breaks the dissertation into five (or more) chapters, Chapters 1 and 5+ summarize, synthesize, and project the research, and are written last. The Chapters in between are individual papers. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this approach.

    It’s nice to finally settle on this format, because I’ve be vacillating between two basic forms of dissertations since the proposal.


  151. Michelle says:

    Hi again,

    Today I was able to accomplish two of my three goals

    1. Revise Table of Contents
    2. Revise Introduction

    For tomorrow I plan to
    -Work Background (already have some of it written)

  152. Alexis Williams says:

    Ok, finishing Day 2. Gotta stay disciplined! Dr. Carter said today that we should celebrate when we are able to accomplish our daily goals. Maybe I’ll get to do some celebrating soon!

    Today I rewrote my intro paragraphs again after a short meeting with Dr. Carter. I also summarized another article and have two more to go for today.

    Tomorrow I will continue summarizing and work on my Chapter 2 sections that address my committee’s recommendations.

    It is written.

  153. Elizabeth says:

    -Work Accomplished 7/21: Improvement of my problem statement by incorporating a broader approach to my topic (from general to specific), filling in gaps, as recommended by Dr. Carter. To do so, I reviewed and organized new articles using EndNote Web. I also further modified the Table of Contents.
    -Goal 7/22: To continue improving my problem statement and to summarize the first two modules of my non-theoretical study.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I have organized my documents in two folders and I am ready to continue working on my problem statement and to start summarizing 25% of my two studies. The 2 min. presentation on my dissertation was very helpful.

      • renettatull says:

        Hello Elizabeth,

        Feel free to post the draft version of the problem statement here. It will be ok for you to revise it later.


  154. Dr. Carter says:

    Good Morning Everyone,

    Welcome to day 3 of the DH at UMCP!

    I am working with 2 hours of sleep. I went to bed at 2:00am and woke at 5:00am. I need you to feel my pain. My sister and I drove to Gaithersburg to get there by 7 and still make it to the Dissertation House by 9, ouch! If I weren’t going on vacation after the DH I might start crying.

    This morning if I can keep my eyes open we will be working on our “elevator pitch.” Each student will be given 2 minutes to present some information about his or her research. You should practice doing the same thing; you should be able to discuss your research in a clear concise manner without relying on acronyms or jargon common to your specific discipline. Always be prepared for the moment when someone says “so tell me a little bit about your research…” Don’t expect them to give you verbal prompts to move the conversation along. Can you present your research in 2 minutes?

    Use the link below to practice your mini presentation. Can you extend that presentation for 5 minutes or will you run out of words or ideas? You should be prepared to start your dissertation defense with a similar opening that tells the audience why you came to graduate school. How many “ums” and “ahs” did you have? Try recording yourself to see how many “filler words” you inserted because you were talking too fast, or forgot to breathe.

  155. krturpie says:

    Good morning,

    Today I plan to continue developing an outline for the first paper. Earlier, I formulated a set of questions pertaining to each paper for the dissertation. The first issue that I’m wrestling with this morning is whether the question pertaining to the first paper (Chpt 2) is stated appropriately (i.e., as phased, can I support an answer to the question with the data and research?). I also realize, that as written this morning, it sounds rather like the question that a previous student of my adviser was pursuing, but only partially answered. That needs to be stated as well.


    • renettatull says:

      Hello Kevin,

      Did you re-work the question? In addition, have you written any pages yet? If so, for which section of your chapter?


  156. Margaret says:

    Good morning,

    Today is the third day of the Dissertation House and I am happy of my progress. I have downloaded 2 years of my datasets and thank God, I am able to run my SAS codes without error. Today I will complete downloading the other 4 years and it will go faster as I have determined which variables to keep.

    This is a great program and during the orientation of graduate students we should have some seminars on what to expect from your advisor, how to select your committee, and deadlines every student must meet.

    Thanks again Dr. Carter and everyone who is helping us move our dissertation forward.

    • renettatull says:

      Hello Margaret,

      Congratulations on having SAS run without errors!

      Please note that we do have workshops for grad students on all of the topics that you mentioned. UMCP’s PhD Completion Project has workshops on Friday afternoons throughout the year, there are discussions and panels for this topic at the Grad School’s orientation for new students in the Nyumburu Center each August, the PROMISE program has numerous workshops on this topic. The next one will be part of the PROMISE Summer Success Institute (SSI) Aug 20-21. Updates to the program are posted on htt:// Finally, we’re in our 4th year of the now famous “When Faculty Say X, They Really Mean Y” workshop at UMBC for all grad students in Maryland, held annually in October.

      I hope that you will be able to come to some of these events. We really focus on giving students unwritten rules for success along with translation and interpretation of behaviors, written communication, body language, gestures, tone, and phrasing by faculty members.

      Best, RGT

  157. Dora says:

    Something’s up in Maine. Yesterday we had some horrible weather and we lost power for about 3 hours or so. There went the internet. I did actually do some work through all the excitement, but it definitely would have been more productive had I not been sitting in the dark, waiting out a tornado warning.

    I finished most the research site description yesterday. I think I can wrap it up with this last paragraph that I’m working on right now. After that, I have a couple of comments to address. I am hopeful I can wrap up Chapter 3 today.

    • drwendycarter says:

      Hello Dora

      Glad that you have been able to carve out some time to spend on your dissertation. You should find a way to say thank you to your family for respecting the process and your need to work on your dissertation even during a family vacation. I love Maine; I use to spend my summers in Portsmouth. More importantly, I enjoyed the lobsters most of all. Look forward to seeing when you get back.

  158. drwestmoreland says:

    Hi All,

    I am ready to work today. I finished what I said I was going to do before 9am today, but it kept me up until 3am (among other things that kept me up). We did our elevator speeches and I was STRESSED out, but I told Dr. Carter that. Well, it’s time to get to work. Today I am sprucing up my spreadsheet entries and starting paper number 6.



  159. Alexis Williams says:

    Elevator speeches. Wow. Need more practice.

    I actually did some more reading last night but fell asleep at my desk before I realized it. Maybe I absorbed some of that chapter by osmosis…

    Today I will finish summarizing some more articles and flushing out committee-recommended sections to my outline. The more I do this, the more connections I make. My goal is to have a clear organization to each section so that I’m not surprising any of my readers in subsequent sections.

    Today is the one day I have to leave early to catch up at work, so I will do more after 5pm…

    Have a great day D.House!

    • Alexis Williams says:

      For Dr. Carter: 🙂

      Sooooo (just kidding, Dr. Carter!).. Today I got a “pretty good” on my intro revision, and I turned in another draft.

      Tomorrow I want to finish some more article summaries, and write in some more of my committee’s recommended sections for my chapter 2.

      I actually made a big dent in one of the “seminal” chapters in teacher efficacy that I had been struggling to get myself to read for months. I actually found myself finished with one section and realized that I had gotten that “flow” feeling (Csikszentmihalyi – see , find it in research port). About a research paper! Wooohooo! Lesson: “Spend time” with the work and it will get a little easier to spend time with.

    • renettatull says:

      FYI … Academic absorption by osmosis is a myth. 😉

  160. Jackie says:

    I want a redo on my “elevator” pitch. Maybe tonight at dinner with friends. In the meantime, I will be continuing yesterday’s tasks and working on updating my respondent contact list so that I can send a few more interview recruitment letters.

  161. Charlotta says:

    Good Morning all! Well after that “2-min” speech I have to try and focus again on my paper and not all the issues I had in speaking to you all this morning. Today I will be reading some articles that I printed out last night. This is again another slow start for but I am hoping that the 15 minutes a day will get me in a better place than I have been for the last year.

    Much success to you on this Thursday!

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Charlotta,

      When you blog this afternoon, post a detailed account of everything that you did, especially what you wrote. Don’t just use sections or topics, consider talking in terms of pages, paragraphs, or even sentences if necessary. You may be surprised to see how much you’ve done today. If you’re not satisfied, give yourself some extra time tonight or tomorrow morning to write a few paragraphs or sentences and start fresh at tomorrow’s DH.


      • Charlotta says:

        Good evening Dr Tull,

        Yes you are so right! I did complete about four draft pages today. I still find myself getting off track sometimes but if I do I move on to something that will keep my attention and then go back to whatever made my mind drift away.

        Doing this allowed me to do some searching today and I printed a few articles while I was here. This afternoon I forced myself to begin reading one article and became encouraged. I will just stay faithful to the commitment of a minimum of 15 minutes a day because I am sure I will continue to see the progress, day-by-day.

        Tomorrow I will continue to read and add to my paper.

        Have a GREAT evening.

  162. Angel Love Miles says:

    Good Morning Everyone,
    Yesterday, I made a great deal of progress on my dissertation concept paper. Basically, my adviser asked me to create a short summary of my proposal that includes the general purpose of the study, methods to be used, and it’s strengths. Sounds easy enough. The trouble is, my advisers and I recently decided that I should change the original direction of the study. Being that I already proposed and passed my proposal defense, this has been quite challenging so far. It seems that as soon as I finally started to feel like I knew what I was doing, it was decided that I should really do something else. The topic of the study is the same, but the methods used to explore that topic has been changed significantly after discovering that my original plan was not really feasible after all. It’s a long story, but I am confident that I will solidify the direction of this project soon. Today’s goals are as follows:
    -Revise Concept Paper by
    Refining research questions
    Improving the questionnaire and interview schedule
    Adding Citations
    Explaining the reasons for change of direction in the introduction
    Writing about the strengths and limitations of the proposed study and methodology
    Best wishes for a productive day everyone!

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Angel,

      This can seem daunting, but it can happen in the course of a research investigation. Know that there are others who have been in the Dissertation House (and graduated!) who had similar issues. One student was a candidate and was excited to be presenting at an international conference in her field only to learn from new colleagues who came to her talk that her method was not as novel as she’d originally thought. She took the initiative to find a way to work with the “father” of her field and has since finished her Ph.D.

      You seem to have a good plan in place! I’ll look forward to reading that section on strengths and limitations of the methodology.

      Take care,

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  163. krturpie says:

    Today, I not only completed a draft outline of Chapter 2 (first paper), I rewrote the outline for Chapter 1 (Introduction) to fit the new format. I developed Chapter 2 to address only the first of four research questions that I identified back on Monday. I also wrote down the key concepts for a Chapter 3, which picks up large-scale applications of results from Chapter 2. I decided that this should be a separate paper, as the work covered by Chapter 2 only produces results that feed into field applications and general modeling, while the new chapter would address measurements made from airborne or spaceborne platforms. Although the audiences for these two areas are certainly not mutually exclusive, they are different enough that the resulting manuscripts could conceivably end up in different journals.

    I also determined that Chapters 4 and 5 could pick up the remaining three research questions, the last two going into Chapter 5. The formation of these Chapters may need a little more thinking. I’m a little concerned that I’ve ended up with four papers, when I only really need three!

    Finally, I am fitting these new chapter outlines into my revised dissertation outline, which uses the format that I described earlier. It’s nice to see that’s filling out so well.

    For tomorrow, I will start with cleaning up the outline for Chapter 2. Then I am thinking of roughing out an outline for Chapter 3, instead of going back to the model development. I would really like to have as much thought out as possible before returning to toying with the technical stuff (it’s fun, but down low enough to loose track).

  164. krturpie says:

    Good morning,

    Once again, I’m in bright and early… and still waking up. Dr. Carter, I am not a morning person either. That’s says something to me anyway.

    I looked at what I wrote down for Chapter 3. There are definitely dependencies on the results in first paper. So, I made a rough outline and refined what I wrote.

    Today, I’ll look at mapping out the remaining papers, writing down generally what area they’ll approach. That will round out my second objective for this week. If I have time, I look further at the model.


  165. drwestmoreland says:

    Good Morning,

    This week I have gained a new appreciation for SLEEP. How important it is in my life. Yesterday was crazy and I had this weird stomach ache all day and it was because I didn’t sleep until 3am yesterday. Today I feel GREAT! Thank God. I am happy to make it this far this week and I wish we had dissertation house next week as well.

    What I have left to do:
    1. Read 4 articles
    2. Summarize 4 articles
    3. Add 5 articles to my spreadsheet

    I am not sure if I will meet my goal in this one day because I am also meeting with Dr. Carter for 1 hour which will take away some of my time. But the important thing for me this week was that I had goals and I knew exactly what I was doing everyday BEFORE I came to campus. I thought it was a good idea not to have to spend so much time on preparing what I am going to do, rather than just doing it.

    Each year in January I write about what I accomplished in the previous year and then I project what I would like to accomplish in the current year. I spend usually a whole day to reflect and then plan out my goals for the current year that are workable. Throughout the year (almost every night) I read and re-read those goals for the year to see where I am. One of my goals for 2010 was to “do more and plan less” and dissertation house has helped me in learning how to do that.

    The 4 papers that I have to read today are very LONG, each one is like 40 pages. Nonetheless I will start reading and see where I get.

    I’m ready.


    • Dora says:

      “Do more and plan less.” So simple, yet when I read this, I thought, “Yes! That’s it! Do more and plan less!” Thanks for the words.

  166. Christy says:

    Let the writing begin!

  167. Charlotta says:

    The last day but I am much more comfortable with the process again. I needed “Dissertation House” to encourage me and put me back on the right track. I went to bed talking about my paper with my husband and woke up and gave him some stats on what I began reading yesterday. I hope to give him even more information on my topic.

    Back to reading……..

  168. Dora says:

    Last night, I finished going through my reader’s comments and rewarded myself with some time in my mother-in-law’s hot tub. Perfect way to end the day. It was so relaxing. Today, I am doing a final read through of Chapters 1 and 3. Barring finding anything crazy that requires a major revamp, I should be able to get this off to my advisor/co-chair today. I’m so excited about possibility of FINALLY getting this to her that I think I will have to skip today’s boat ride on the lake. There’s always next year.

    I am also hoping that I can begin outlining Chapter 2, paragraph by paragraph. As much as Dr. Carter has encouraged me to outline, I have resisted her so far. So high school, don’t you think? But, every time I go to see her, she tells me what I’ve written isn’t what I should have written, so I think it’s better to spend time on an outline than “real” writing at this point.

    WANT TO KEEP THE DH MOMENTUM GOING??? Dr. Carol Parham has graciously given me access to 2119 Benjamin Hall (College of Education). A group of us who participated in DH at Rocky Gap in February kept working in Benjamin throughout the semester, and now the summer. At the moment, I’m the only one with access (because I’m the only one in the College of Education) so, unfortunately, access is dependent on me. I’m usually there on Saturdays and will e-mail people during the week to let them know when I will be there. If you want to be included in these e-mails, please let me know at (By the way, I will not be there tomorrow, since I’ll still be on vacation.)

    • Angel Love Miles says:

      Yes, I highly recommend continuing this momentum with Dora and others starting next Saturday. I have been a part of this Promise group extension of the DH that meets regularly every Saturday at the Benjamin Building in Education. It really has helped me a great deal and at least two members of the group from last year have graduated already! Hope to see many of you there!

    • renettatull says:

      Congratulations on your tremendous productivity while on vacation! Kudos to you; you deserved your break! Thank you for posting the information for the Saturday sessions. Thank you for being such an active online participant. Continue to enjoy your time in Maine!


      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  169. Angel Love Miles says:

    Good Morning Everyone,
    I am feeling a little sad that today is the last day:( But, I am happy that I have gotten a great deal of work done. My meeting with Dr. Carter yesterday also really helped steer me further in the right direction. Reflecting on the week as a whole, I really can’t say enough about how privileged I feel to be apart of the Promise Dissertation House specifically, and the Promise Program in general. I have gained new information through Dr. Carters lectures, visiting speakers and through interaction with my peers. This has really built my confidence in my research project and overall ability to complete the PhD. In addition, I know that the knowledge and skills I have gained throughout have provided me with a rare competitive edge as someone who will soon be entering the job market. I just can’t say enough good things about this week or about Promise and I am sure many of you feel the same way. This is the first evaluation I am looking forward to filling out!
    Goals for today:
    Complete Concept Paper Draft by:
    Finishing Variable Table
    Improving Introduction
    Incorporating Dr. Carter’s suggestions
    Inserting Citations and Bibliography
    Wish me well!

    • renettatull says:

      Thank you Angel! It was good to see you this week. I’d like to encourage you and all of the members of the Saturday group to continue to blog over the summer as part of the Summer Challenge. I wish you well!

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  170. krturpie says:

    Well, DH is done. I did manage to write a 8+ page outline for the dissertation, including a lot of detail for Chapter 2. I also can better see the flow and the interdependency between sections.

    I decided to push the work for the last three research questions to future work. I’ve identified some issues and potential weaknesses in the research, which I hope to address next.

    So, I not only met my first two objectives for this week, I exceeded my own expectations in planning this out. I even had time to spend on the modeling for my third (last) objective.

    I’d like to thank Dr. Carter, Dr. Tull, Dr. Hodge, and Dr. Wilds Lawson and all the PROMISE staff (I hope I didn’t miss anyone) for all that they done in putting this together. I also appreciate Dr. Wilson’s talk on balance on Thursday. It all was very helpful, perhaps even necessary, to get me going.


    • renettatull says:

      Thank you for your comments Kevin! I’m so happy to hear that you exceeded your own expectations. Congratulations on putting in the time and effort this week. Best wishes as you continue toward your PhD.

      Kind regards,
      Renetta Tull

  171. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Everyone,

    As mentioned, I am very thankful for the opportunity of participating in this program because being exposed to this set of techniques and expertise (as a custom crafted package) would be very difficult to find elsewhere.

    I have been very productive to the point that I have been unable to cease work on my dissertation. I worked until very late last night and I resumed my pace again this morning before 9 a.m., as has been my practice every day this week.

    On Tuesday, I brought a new journal for my notes as recommended for the Dissertation House, and already the journal is nearly packed full with both helpful notes from Dr. Carter’s presentations and projected plans to move my dissertation toward the next level, inspired by the ideas discussed here.

    By meeting with Dr. Carter and working on the problem statement, I have perceived not only the gaps on my research but I appreciate my advisor’s work even more.
    Thanks to the concept X means Y, I have translated my advisor’s recommendations and opened my mind to things that I had intuitively sensed but had not yet grasped. To summarize, I have dissected the publications that my advisor recommended and am now upgrading my model by focusing on the first and second derivatives and incorporating the data collected on my visits.

    The Dissertation House has been very productive and an invaluable exercise, and I look forward to completing my dissertation as planned by attending forthcoming DH extensions on Saturdays.


    • renettatull says:

      Congratulations on your progress Elizabeth! And thank you for writing your thoughts, even during the raw drafting exercise. Have a great weekend! Take a break so that you can be refreshed, then you’ll be able to get back to it later (but no later than Monday morning.)

      Take care!
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  172. Alexis Y. Williams says:

    I almost got away without blogging my last comments, but then I stopped by my office to print out my proposal draft (thanks again, Dr. Tull), and now I’m waiting for the printer.

    Before I forget, Dr. Carter wanted me to post on here that the Center for Teaching Excellence has information and resources about teaching philosophies, so check it out (; also look into the UTLP program – a self-paced certificate program that helps you put together a portfolio of your teaching documentation that will be helpful in the job search).

    I was really struggling to stay awake this afternoon; this week has worn me out. Yay! I worked hard and I was more efficient with my time than I have been in a while, so I know I can do it again (it’s just temporary).

    I got a lot of coaching this week and it shook me up how much I need to do, but it also left me more determined than ever. I finished revising a nice introduction with Dr. Carter’s help, and she and Dr. Tull gave me tips for continuing with the rest of the document. I also have in my pocket some ways that I can keep my committe members on board with my dissertation.

    My next goals are to 1) bind my now-printed proposal crappy-draft, 2) read over the entire document and make notes about the changes that I need to work on, 3) work on my logical structure in the arguments I’m making so that the document flows from one section to the next; this might require that I use a Q&A format so that my topic sentences are clear “answers” to the questions, “Where will my audience expect me to go next with this?” and “What assumptions am I making that I need to clarify and address?”

    I will sleep SO well tonight!

    Bye, Dissertation Housemates! I want to see you guys around sometime!


    • renettatull says:

      Great job this week Alexis! I’m impressed that you went back to your office AFTER the DH to continue with some work. Good for you! Rest well and do remember to celebrate your progress!

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  173. Rui says:

    I am now eager to join a dissertation writing group during the summer.
    If you are interested in having a group, please consider me too.

    Thank you all for such a wonderful dissertation house experience!
    I am so inspired and in fact feel happier when I get to work!
    This morning, I read Dr. Tull’s post about health and balance, so useful.
    I recommend all grad students to read it.
    I also watched Dr. Carter’s video on-line and realize that I have a lot yet to learn from her.
    Wish all of you a great successful summer! Thank you all so much.

    • renettatull says:

      Hello Rui,

      Thank you for blogging this morning; I’m glad that you’re finding our online resources useful even after the formal Dissertation House. Enjoy your weekend!

      Best regards,
      Dr. Tull

  174. Charlotta says:

    On my way to meet Christy at the library to at least continue working on this project. I finished three yesterday so today I am going to print out the cookbook and read that today just to continue focusing on the steps that I need to include.

    Enjoy your lovely, hot Saturday!

  175. Christy says:

    Good Afternoon!

    For the next two hours, I will be drafting the last portion of Chapter 2 following the outline I created this week at DH. – Christy 🙂

  176. drwestmoreland says:

    Hello Dr. Tull,

    Is this blog for continued use after DH?


  177. drwestmoreland says:

    Thanks Dr. Tull.

    My goals for this week are:
    1. Read 3 papers
    2. Add 3 papers to my annotated bibliography
    3. Add 3 papers to my spreadsheet
    4. Start reading book “Analysing Design Activity”
    5. Meet with my advisor

    I worked on a paper today. I finished it and summarized it and I pick up the book in 5 from the library. 3 more days in the week to get through the rest of my list.

    Wish me luck!


  178. drwestmoreland says:

    This week I had a plan to do:
    1. Read 3 papers (DONE!)
    2. Add 3 papers to my annotated bibliography(DONE!)
    3. Add 3 papers to my spreadsheet(DONE!)
    4. Start reading book “Analysing Design Activity”(I will be at Saturday DH to do this one)
    5. Meet with my advisor (DONE!)

    So Hip Hip Hurray for me! I don’t have a reward for myself this week but I think doing what I said I was going to do in enough reward for me. I was also able to work out this week which increased my energy and helped me get better sleep at night. I rode my bike 7 miles to and 7 miles from school 3 days this week and I plan to go jogging when I leave campus today. Thank God! What a blessed week. Before I leave Saturday DH tomorrow I will decide what my goals are for next week so when Monday comes I will be prepared and just able to jump start.

    Happy Friday!


  179. Alexis Williams says:

    I am at the library to start off the first week of August with a determined plan. A little scared, since last week was probably the most hectic, busy week of my whole summer, but now I will get my rhythm back.

    Today I will:
    1) free-write for half an hour (I have some jitters that need to come out and once those are done they always leave room for the actual writing )
    2) update my proposal schedule to catch up with my countdown to finishing this thing before the end of the summer
    3) use my outline to complete a draft of my chapter two introduction – not too long, not too detailed, but with complete thoughts so that I can have a better direction for the rest of chapter two.

    Ok, ready to go!


  180. drwestmoreland says:

    I came in Saturday and started and finished the book from my #4 last week. I worked in the Benjamin Building with Angel and Dora and Co. It was great. I pushed myself and I came through.

    Now August…A New Month….New Possibilities….Not Looking Behind (bc I can’t change that story)…Start of a New Season.

    This week I plan to:

    1. Revise ASME IMECE Conference Paper and submit final copy
    2. Read Dissertation A (by Robin Adams)
    3. Read (and annotate) 2 new papers I found last week.
    4. Add Dissertation, Book, and Papers to my spreadsheet.
    5. Meet with my advisor
    6. Start comparing literature with my 3 research questions to see patterns or disagreements.

    Okay. Today is almost Xed, I had a dr appointment this morning then I just came from donating blood, my car needs a oil change BAD, and my cell phone needs emergency care. But, my advisor asked to see the paper revisions today so sometime before I go to bed I will start that. I have 2 hours before my car repair time so I am going to make the most of those.

    Here I go.

    • Alexis Williams says:

      Don’t get discouraged when life slows down your progress. Start again from where you are. You’re where you need to be! I’m trying to keep up my pace over here, too. Slowly but surely.

    • renettatull says:

      Great plan Nikki! Give an update after your meeting with your advisor, assuming that it’s not on Friday. If the meeting is on Friday, give an update on Thursday so that we can track your progress.

      Best, RGT

  181. drwestmoreland says:


    Tuesday is gone! Paper edits are getting out of hand. It’s all my fault because I want the paper to be perfect. I only had 3 revisions and I have put in 1.5 days already. I came in half a day today because I worked till Midnight on the paper last night. I know. I know. I have e-mailed a more final draft copy to my advisor so I am free to read my papers now for my proposal. I know that publishing is important- especially in engineering so I don’t feel bad working on the paper but I know know it’s time lost.

    I will keep going.


    • renettatull says:

      Getting a draft for a publication is something to celebrate. It is an accomplishment and an important part of the process. Congratulations!

  182. Alexis Y. Williams says:

    I’ve lost too much time worrying about the time I’ve lost. I will learn patience like in James 5.

    Well, Dr. Tull, I got part of my outline done for the intro but I still have to write the draft. I worked (at my job) today so I’m just getting off. Going to put in some time tonight and tomorrow night after work. I’ll keep posting, even if I’m not where I wanted to be. It keeps me accountable so I’ll get back on track!!


    • renettatull says:

      Ok! So working on the draft is on tomorrow’s agenda? This is the draft of what? Please remind me.



      • Alexis Williams says:

        Sorry, I am drafting Chapter 2.

        I worked on it a little yesterday after work, but not done yet. So:

        – Finish draft of Chapter 2 intro tonight
        – Tomorrow draft my paragraphs for the main framework I’m using for teaching motivation: Implicit theories. This will set up the argument for what will come next, which is how teachers’ efficacy and emotional experiences can fit into the larger implicit theory framework.
        – Over the weekend, I want to add drafts for efficacy and emotion sections.

        Ok, here we go!

        • Alexis Williams says:

          Ok, today I am trying a new location – the gym, since I was here to work out this morning – but I don’t think I like it too much for a regular spot. I can tell it will get chilly, the tvs get on my nerves, and I don’t want to have to carry my heavy computer AND my workout stuff every time I come here. I’ll stick with the library. 🙂

          Anyway, yesterday I got a raw draft done of my intro. It needs edits, but the ideas are pretty good. I’m thinking about skipping editing for now and moving on to drafting the next section – the main implicit theories framework – with some freewriting, seeing how far I can make it with that today. If that goes well, then over the weekend I’ll add the supplementary work on teacher efficacy and emotions, maybe edit some.

          Happy Friday!

          • drwendycarter says:

            Good Morning Alexis

            I’m back! Keep working out it will help to clear your thoughts and keep you healthy enough to finish your degree and deal with the stress associated with completing a dissertation. We don’t always have to enjoy every aspect of our life in order to do something. Make it work for you. I hope that you are not giving up working out all together. It’s important to be consistent and get into some form of a routine.

            When you return to your introduction you don’t have to do all of your edits all at once. You might consider just mainly focusing on the transitions from one paragraph to the next i.e., ask yourself what is this paragraph about and what is the subsequent paragraph about, is there a connection between these two paragraphs? Remember the 12-15 minutes a day tasks that keep you moving forward.

          • renettatull says:

            Hi Alexis,

            I found that I can answer emails on the treadmill … That frees up time later in the morning for other work.

            You can have different locations for different days. Maybe the library Mondays, another venue Tues-Thurs, and one other for Fri-Sun. I’d suggest no more than three locations. This doesn’t include reading a paper while you wait at the DMV. I believe in making your writing locations fun as long as they provide a *productive* space.

            -RGT (who will write in a cafe’ in a heartbeat!)

            • Alexis Williams says:

              Yay! These are very helpful words from two of my favorite coach-mentors. Welcome back Dr. Carter! I’m glad you had a restful vacation!

              I will definitely maintain the workout routine as a staple. After working on the proposal for a while this morning, it hasn’t been too bad of a location, but I think working out at the gym and then going to my main location (library) to write will be easier to maintain, and that also will keep me from having too many writing locations.

              I will keep assessing my transitions, too. That’s probably the toughest part for me.

              Ok, here I go some more! Thanks, Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter!


              • drwestmoreland says:

                I agree with Dr. Tull. I write e-mails while walking to the metro or on the treadmill.

                Good Luck Alexis!

  183. Christy says:

    I will be working this evening on drafting the last section of my second chapter: Becoming a Mother in the NICU. My goal is to turn in a draft of this chapter on Friday after I drop Sean off at camp. This is his last week of camp, so I really need to focus on getting this done!

    Here is the plan:

    Wednesday evening – draft last section
    Thursday afternoon- revise last section, smooth transitions
    Thursday evening – read chapter from the beginning and make any necessary changes
    Friday morning – drop Sean off at camp, drop draft off on campus, begin thinking about chapter 3

    Wish me luck! – Christy 🙂

    • renettatull says:

      Great plan Christy!

      How did it work out last night? Did you finish the draft of your section as intended?


      • Christy says:

        Yes! I drafted the last section, although I had to go into raw drafting for the final paragraph. So…I need to tighten that up this afternoon. I was thanking you this morning because without that strategy, I may have stopped there. Now, I can dive right in without wondering how to begin. This afternoon I will be revising my last section and going back to smooth transitions.


        • Alexis Williams says:

          Keep it up, Christy! You can do it!

          • drwestmoreland says:

            YAYAYAY Christy! Good for you!!!

            • Christy says:

              Thanks to eveyone for the words of encouragement! I turned in my draft of Chapter 2 on Friday afternoon 🙂 I will be moving on to Chapter 3 while I am waiting for feeback. Today I am planning to do the following:

              1. read over two Chapter 3 examples within dissertations using hermeneutic phenomenology

              2. outline my Chapter 3

  184. drwestmoreland says:


    Good News: The paper is done! (It’s due today so I can’t play with it anymore) My advisor had more revisions than I expected and I didn’t get them until Wednesday.

    Bad News: I just finished it 2 minutes ago.

    I’m not worried because the way we worked the paper is that it’s almost an outline for my proposal. So I was working on my proposal this week without even knowing it. What a blessing!

    The next 4 days I am hanging with my sister who is visiting me from Texas so I will check back in Tuesday afternoon/night to plan out next week’s activities. Well I guess they are already planned because it’s the things that I didn’t get to this week. I will discuss them in more detail next week.

    Dora will be in the Benjamin Bldg tomorrow for anyone looking for a place to study. It’s sooooooo quiet in that building, a good place for Saturday study.

    Thanks for following our progress and commenting, it helps to have another source of accountability.

    Have a Great Weekend!


    • renettatull says:

      Good news … Whether you finished 2 minutes ago, or 2 days ago, you finished it! Congratulations!

      You have a good plan for a short break and then getting back into the swing of things, assuming that next Saturday may be included in your work schedule.

      Have a good weekend and congratulations to you on sticking to your goals!


      • drwestmoreland says:

        Hi Dr. Tull,

        I’m back and I do plan to work on Saturday. Hopefully Dora will be having Saturday School because that session works well for me.

  185. drwestmoreland says:

    Dr. Tull,

    I met with my advisor 3 times this week in person and 1 time by phone. The meetings went well, a little frustrating at time but we worked it out. I was feeling the time crunch which stressed me out some, but everything worked out. Next week we will probably meet on Wednesday and then talk more about the proposal.


    • renettatull says:


      Having that concentrated quality time with your advisor was good, despite the frustrating moments. Look how much you accomplished! You finished a paper and will be finishing your proposal soon. Keep your lines of communication open with your advisor. This week, you had intense interaction, but if you can have regular, weekly updates, you’ll be on the right track.


  186. Jackie says:

    So, I came to Starbucks because the last time I was here wireless was not free = I didn’t pay for it and wasn’t distracted by the internet at all. Today I found out that Starbucks now has free wireless. I’m posting here to hold myself accountable. I’m going to get back to work now. . . analyzing documents and finishing up later with some raw drafting.

    I started working 3-4 hours/night on my dissertation after getting home from work Mon-Fri. The schedule is killing me, but maybe once I get used to it, I won’t be as tired? In any case, I’m still inspired by my DH experience.


    • renettatull says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Congratulations on posting! You are doing well with your summer challenge, especially given that you’ve developed a tight schedule. Yes, it does become easier to handle the schedule over time. Once it becomes a routine, you’ll be able to sit down and get at the heart of your task fairly quickly.

      Be sure that you eat a healthy dinner when you get home from work and take a short breather before jumping into the dissertation. You can start working by 7:30-8 PM and still be in bed by midnight!

      Best wishes!

  187. Jackie says:

    Thanks, Dr. Tull. I believe you that it will get easier to handle. My partner has been really good about my new schedule and has even agreed to help with dinner. She hates the kitchen, so this is a big show of support.

  188. Alexis Williams says:

    Nikki and Jackie’s words are inspiring me! I was feeling anxious today but I talked to Dr. Parham and she gave me a pep talk. From Nikki’s pushing through her paper and finishing (congrats!!) and Jackie’s daily work schedule, I get encouragement that I can push through being a little tired/overwhelmed and eventually it will get easier to maintain.

    I got to speak briefly with one of my committee members today, too. I actually had that moment standing at the door where I was thinking, “Go in and ask! Just do it!” and it paid off. I got some face time and I got information that will help me to have a successful proposal!

    I am at the library and today I am working on my statistics. I am learning a new procedure so I am determined to get through some articles that will help me be able to discuss my ideas clearly about my analysis plan. If I can get through two tonight and summarize them in my notes, I will feel pretty good. The committee member wants me to send him a list of “things I think I wish I had” for learning this statistical analysis better, so I will send that after I get done with the reading/summarizing.

    Here we go!

    • renettatull says:

      Excellent Alexis! Great job of actively using your resources! Dr. Parham, your committee member, your fellow DH peers … Great job of “just doing it!” Keep the positive spirit and the momentum.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Thanks Alexis, that paper was a challenge I will say that. But it was hard but not impossible. I had to take little bites one at a time to get through it. Now back to reality for me and making the most of the rest of August.

  189. drwendycarter says:

    Hey Alexis

    One thing I always recommend to students who “think they hate Statistics” or “have no clue when it comes to Statistics” is a book that is currently out of print titled Statistics an Introduction by Robert D. Mason, Douglas A. Lind, and William G. Marchal. Copyright 1983. ISBN 0-15-583525-4. This is the first edition and it is the best. The book is generally available through Amazon for less than three dollars; the shipping is generally more than the cost of the book.

  190. drwestmoreland says:

    Hi All!

    My week started today – Saturday. So I have a good 4 days to crank some work out. I will probably work in the engineering library this week because it’s absolutely quiet in there and it’s my 2nd study place. My goals are:

    1. Read Dissertation A (by Robin Adams)
    2. Read (and annotate) 2 new papers I found last week.
    3. Add Dissertation, Book, and Papers to my spreadsheet.
    4. Meet with my advisor
    5. Start comparing literature with my 3 research questions to see patterns or disagreements.

    I e-mailed my advisor and I hope to meet with her tomorrow or Friday so we can talk about an outline. If I can get my outline started before the semester starts I will be in a good place. I think I need that to keep me going through the semester. I will pray about it and see what happens.


  191. Alexis Williams says:

    I like Nikki’s approach about getting into a good position before the semester starts. Even though it’s hard, it’s still easier to push yourself to get ahead than to be pushed by your advisor when you’re behind. 🙂

    Still trying (gently) to use my time after my job to do a little more writing, like Jackie. I’ve learned a little more about what doesn’t work for me at least, lol. Tomorrow after work I will have to waste some time at the dmv, so I’m at the library now trying to put in some good post-job hours.

    To do:
    – Finish one or two stats articles (still have one from the other day, almost done with that, woohoo!)
    – Reformat my draft of my statistical analysis plan
    – Quick emotions sections freewriting for my lit review.

    Here we go!

    P.S. I really like today’s Daily Motivator message:

    • renettatull says:

      Take one of those stats articles with you when you go to the DMV. 🙂


      • drwestmoreland says:

        That was a great motivator Alexis, just what I needed to hear! He wrote (today’s) just for me. Hope you finished our tasks this week. Let’s keep pushing!

  192. drwestmoreland says:

    Friday! It came so fast..:)

    This week my goals were to:
    1. Read Dissertation A (by Robin Adams) (DONE!!)
    2. Read (and annotate) 2 new papers I found last week.(DONE!!)
    3. Add Dissertation, Book, and Papers to my spreadsheet.
    4. Meet with my advisor(DONE!!)
    5. Start comparing literature with my 3 research questions to see patterns or disagreements.

    I am currently still working but for a few more hours so I have some time to carve into number 3 and number 5. My meeting today with my advisor went well. We talked about a ‘summer recap’ and what we want to do with our last two weeks. She was going to a conference next week that she cancelled so good for me I can get a little more face time with her before the semester begins.

    Since I was off Monday and Tuesday this week I plan to come in and work tomorrow to make sure that I complete my tasks for this week and plan out what I want to get accomplished next week.

    I hope I have a good report tomorrow that I finished and a good plan to start out next week. Next week Friday is SSI, but I really need that time so I will try to focus EXTRA Monday – Thursday so I am not feeling guilty at SSI.

    Okay, back to work.


    • renettatull says:

      Hi Nikki,

      Great job; you were very productive last week. I am especially pleased to see that there is constant feedback from your advisor. That level of mentoring is so important at this stage. Thank you for planning in advance so that you can enjoy the PROMISE Summer Success Institute: We hope that you will enjoy it. You will have a chance to see other DH members “walk” during lunch when we recognize Ph.D. candidates. Prepare to be inspired!

      Take care, RGT

  193. drwestmoreland says:

    Still here…

    Okay so I just finished addings the books and papers to my spreadsheet. And after thinking for a while I decided that I am going to skip number 5 tonight for the sake of another assignment that I discussed with my advisor today. I need to look back at my 22 sources for specific cognitive operators that they present in order for us to start laying out our IRB for the Fall. We talked about this today and the literature is fresh on my mind I want to punch that one out.


  194. drwestmoreland says:


    I started today with a meeting with my advisor. We talked about some strategies for the next two weeks and some research that I need to get done today. I am meeting her again first thing in the morning so I am going to just list my tasks for today:

    1. Locate some older papers from ASME 80’s at the library or contact ASME to get copies.
    2. Locate a model of learning
    3. Define cp, cs, and ce.

    Off to work I go.


  195. Alexis Williams says:

    I am a little overwhelmed, but I have a few things that I know I can do quickly to feel that initial sense of accomplishment that gets me going. I just need to do them. 🙂

    This week I want to set the pace for the beginning of the semester. I am learning that conditions won’t always be perfect for completing all my tasks, but like water, I must fill in around those imperfections and wear away at my goals, polishing them into a smooth product. There is a purpose to all this.

    For this week:
    – Complete my basic summary construct table for my review
    – Form a clear argument of my statistical analyses using my recent readings
    – Finish a raw draft of my teacher emotions section

    Let’s see how far I can get on this (Translation: let’s see how far I can trust God to get me through this). 🙂

    • drwcarter says:

      Hello Alexis

      Good for you in recognizing that you don’t have to wait for the stars to align to get some work completed. The beginning of the semester will truly be the test; it’s good to see that you haven’t given up the blog either. Stay in touch.
      Estamos aquí para usted ( I think that translates “We’re here for you”). That is the extent of my Spanish skills. Keep working.

      Una buena disertación es una disertación hecha
      A good dissertation is a done dissertation.

    • drwestmoreland says:


      Where are you this week? I need you, I feel like I’m out here alone. Well hope everything is going good for you.


  196. drwestmoreland says:

    My how time flies!


    Last week I did accomplish my goals. I had a meeting with my advisor on Thursday and we realized were at a challenging point in my dissertation. We are looking for something that might not be out there in order to support our research questions. I have to say that it is refreshing in a sense that she is honest with me to tell me thr truth about the current situation. Nonetheless, the beginning of the school year is not a time to be in a place like this. Distractions come now in all forms, so I have to keep my eye on the prize.

    Today’s goals are to:

    1. Write a summary on educational psychology
    2. Meet with my advisor at 1pm.
    3. E-mail follow up with my advisor. (per Dr. Carter’s suggestion)


    Back to work.


  197. drwcarter says:

    Hello all

    In the DH we discussed the use of an editor, the pros and cons. I said that I would post editing services. My sister edits on an adhoc basis and more importantly she lives in the Maryland area. Her name is Annette Carter and she can be reach at

  198. Alexis Williams says:

    Aww – I’m sorry I stayed away so long, Nikki (and thanks, Dr. Tull)! You are not alone, ever.

    Things got real and I realized a few things. The most important ones for me right now:

    – The difference between FEELING like you’re out of time and actually BEING out of time is like night and day. I spent so much time FEELING like I was out of time, but I realized later that the light was still green for me the whole way! Man, when that deadline is looming, there is no room for feeling anymore – it’s just go, gadget brain, go!
    – Dr. Tull helped so much by getting me to put all my little writings into one whole document so I could see it as a complete product. Slowly, despite its imperfections, it’s getting closer to a proposal. It won’t be ready for the committee by this Friday, but I have a feeling I’ll get some nods in my advisor’s feedback.
    – I am where I’m supposed to be. I thought that I was somehow unworthy for taking as long as I have to get to this point in my education, but I got more evidence today that if things had not occurred exactly the way that they have, some of my cherished opportunities would not have been available to me!

    So all that to say – proposal draft to advisor by Friday. Won’t be perfect, but it’s better now than it was before, and it’ll keep improving til it’s ready to defend (date’s not set).

    In Nikki’s words: Eyes on the prize because time flies. In Dr. Carter’s words: And I don’t want to hear you complaining about lack of sleep! Hee hee.

    • renettatull says:


      Your post made me smile and laugh out loud! Congratulations on getting back on track!

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      • drwestmoreland says:

        Eyes on the prize because time flies!! I need to hear that all semester. That was a really good post. Feelings vs. Reality. I have to check myself before I wreck myself on my feelings alone. Funny thing is my advisor asked me this week to put all my little writing together in one document. At first I was like no that’s going to be a very weak document. But I did it anyways and I submitted that to her yesterday. I will meet with her after lunch today and we will see what kind of feedback I get from her. I haven’t set a date yet but I hope to set one soon. They get us all in a fit as graduate students when you start with those program milestones charts. Because according to the one for mechanical engineering I was supposed to propose and take my qualifying exam in the same semester, which was 2 semesters ago. And I am supposed to graduate in May 2011, according to that chart. Since I know God broke the mold when he made me I should have known better than to think I was going to fit into some gantt chart. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

        Dr. Tull, is this challenge supposed to continue or was this a summer only thing?


  199. Alexis Williams says:

    “But I did it anyways.”

    That’s all you need to get done right there. “I didn’t think putting the document all together would be helpful, but I did it anyways.” “Those stupid milestone charts made me feel like I was so far behind on my proposal, but I did it anyways.” “Sometimes (many/most times?) I didn’t think I could get through grad school …. but I did it anyways!”

    I’m done with the CTE Graduate TA orientation – everyone said it went really well! So now, I’m throwing it all in – gonna have a product for tomorrow, whether I feel good about it or not. I’m gonna do it anyways.

    “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinth 12:9

  200. drwestmoreland says:


    I hope your meeting goes well today with your advisor.

    Yesterday I got some good feedback on my outline and I make needed changes last night. I made 90% of the changes, so I am working on the last 10% today.

    Are you going to the welcome back grad school thingy tonight?


    • Alexis Williams says:

      Hi Nikki,

      LOL – I didn’t know I would be staying for the food, but I’m glad I got to see you!! Duchene & I lost you after a while, when they started the games, but I hope you had fun.

      The meeting with my advisor went really well. I still have a lot of work to do, but I did get the draft to her and I ran the meeting well, I think, something she’s been challenging me to do. When I finally got some sleep that night, I woke up the next morning feeling SO good! Thank God.

      I’ll keep posting here since I’m trying to hurry and get to campus before the undergrad rush. This week I am revising and adding additional detail to the proposal draft, to be turned in on Friday. I will:
      1) read over the whole thing for those embarrassing notes-to-self and ramblings that I didn’t mean to leave in the draft I turned in (!)
      2) add detail to the review in terms of a)theory, 2)constructs, and 3)research findings in the areas where these are lacking (already got feedback from my advisor on this – so exciting)

      If I can do those two things, the draft will be in good shape.

      Have a great week, all!


  201. drwestmoreland says:


    I am at school ready to work. It’s always like that the first week or two. We need to pray for momentum, like the Bill Cosby airplane story, so we can soar on high skies by November.

    It was great to see you Friday. I left to go paint my turtle down in the Arts and Crafts Center. I put “3 stripes” on his back so he’s gonna be on my desk as a motivator. It took me a while because I didn’t really know what I was doing at first. That food was soooooooooo good. Go graduate school, they really know how to kick things off. I came back up but it seemed the crowd had died out.

    This week I have:
    1. Read “Paper 1”
    2. Read “Paper 2”
    3. Meet with my advisor (Scheduled for today)
    4. Make edits to draft from advisor meeting
    5. Edit Annotated Summaries per advisor recommendation (3 summaries)

    To a Great Semester!

    Keep Going,


  202. Alexis Williams says:

    Ugh! Tired. *Eyes on the prize….* *Eyes on the prize…*

  203. drwestmoreland says:

    Wake up Alexis! I hope Zumba helped yesterday. I went to SHP (alone…sign) and ran the treadmill and lifted weights before I went home. But I felt much better after I worked out. This first week of school has been HARD on my body.

    I read my 2 papers. I met with my advisor twice already and then I am going to meet with her again on tomorrow morning. I have today to finish my edits to m my draft from our meeting yesterday and look through a couple of books she gave me.

    I will be out Friday so today is my Thursday.


    • renettatull says:

      Congratulations to both of you! You’re working but keeping fit as well. Kudos!
      Keep up the good work! Nikki, I’m happy to see that you are staying in close contact with your advisor.

  204. drwestmoreland says:


    Labor Day Weekend was over. This week I have:

    1. Pilot Study Information
    2. IRB Information
    3. Make Draft Edits
    4. Meet with my advisor

    That’s not even the half including work I have for my 2 classes.

    Time to get to work.


  205. Christy says:

    Hello all!

    I met with my advisor just before the holiday weekend and my Chapter 1 is in good shape! Yeah! I also received feedback on my Chapter 2, so off to work I go.

    This week I plan to:
    1. Make minor revisions to Chapter 1.
    2. Expand the “Mothering” section in the 2nd half of my Chapter 2.
    3. Expand the “Becoming” section in the 2nd half of my Chapter 2.

  206. Alexis Williams says:

    Woohoo, Nikki and Christy! Keep it up.

    Yeah, things are crazy, but what else can you do but one thing at a time? Ok, maybe two.. 🙂

    I have made progress on my proposal, and if I keep working through the ‘tween times I can get a good dent in by tomorrow afternoon. I’ve also managed to keep my advisor updated. So far so good.

    • renettatull says:

      Hello Alexis, Christy, and Nikki,

      I’m checking in to wish you well. Keep the momentum going! Congratulations on pushing past the summer and into the Fall! Keep those goals before you. I see good themes here …

      *Working through the “tween” times
      (Like burning calories … every movement counts!)

      *Staying in close contact with the advisor

      *Staying fit (health and wellness!)

      Congratulations again. I’ll look forward to seeing goals that have been accomplished by the end of the week.

      Take care!


  207. drwcarter says:

    Hello All
    The holiday is over for me and for you as well. Christy, Nikki, and Alexis keep up the good work. Set some small goals and post them. What is it that you plan to accomplish by the end of the semester,…. by the end of Nov, Oct, Sept by the end of the week?

    Put it out there in the universe.
    Dr. Carter

  208. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi all,

    Well, since I’m working on an application for a dissertation award, I’ll just post the timeline from that here! Perfect timing! Get it? 🙂

    • Defend proposal – end October
    • Purchase last measure (Maslach Burnout Inventory – Educators Survey, MBI-ES) and submit for IRB approval – November
    • Contact school systems, design online component – December/January
    • Data collection, organization – January – March
    • Data analyses – April/May
    • Writeup – June – August
    • Defense – September

    Oh, and by the end of the week? Finish the award application and submit that and my latest work on the proposal to my advisor before she goes out of town. Continue working on the proposal to have it done, ready for prime time, by the time she gets back (week of the 19th or so).

    Booyah, it’s in the universe. Lord, please open wide the doors you would have me go through, and shut and deadbolt the ones you would not. Amen.

    • renettatull says:

      Alexis, congratulations for thinking this through! I would recommend having everything ready for purchase of the survey (short of giving the credit card number), and your IRB application ready along with your proposal. You should also have a feeling for the schedule of IRB review and whether or not your study needs a full review … You may qualify for an exemption. IRB approvals can take a while, so have this information ready in October.

      I would also suggest that an outline for your full design of the online component should be part of the proposal. Upon passing the proposal, you should only have to collect data, analyze it, and write the dissertation.

      Congratulations on making your plan and best wishes on your award submission!


      • Alexis Williams says:

        Yay! Thanks, Dr. Tull! I am glad to be applying for this award because it requires you to prepare the IRB application. So that’s on my agenda. According to the exemptions in the instructions, the full review should not be required, but it is good to have everything prepared just in case it takes longer than I expect.

        I will work on the online outline; that’s a great suggestion.

        So, the award application and proposal update are in my advisor’s mailbox, and today I am working more on the proposal fixes/additions – I’m vamping up the sections on teacher efficacy, emotion/burnout, and measurement issues. I want to get as much done as possible this morning before I hit the mid-day slump, which I have a feeling will be fierce! Coffee please!

  209. drwestmoreland says:

    Hi All,

    I achieved my goals this week and today I am also finishing my IRB draft. Me and my advisor didn’t think we needed one but apparently we do.

    Today I plan to :
    1. Finish IRB Draft 1
    2. Polish my Proposal Draft
    3. Read 1 chapter for class
    4. Write Teaching Philosohy for class

    I will try to plan for the next 3 weeks of September:

    1. Complete IRB and Submit
    2. Pilot Study in full effect for 2 sections of ENME 472
    3. Complete Book Review: Visser, Simon, and Schon
    4. Add to my list of cognitive cues

    I plan to have these 4 things done by September 30th, 2010!

    Back to work!


  210. drwestmoreland says:


    On Friday I finished everything except reading 1 chapter for class. I was out sick yesterday so I have a 4 day week. All is well though.

    Alexis, I am still on my Zumba HIGH!! I felt sooooooo great after that workout Friday, it couldn’t have been better. I will be there Friday hopefully, I have choir workshop Wed-Fri night in Largo. Just pray I finish my work in time.

    This week:

    1. Meet with my advisor
    2. Recruit 2 more students for my pilot
    3. Revise IRB document
    4. Formatting for Proposal Draft (Table of Contents, etc.)
    5. Purchase 3 scanners for pilot study
    6. Purchase 1 dictaphone for pilot study

    Woo Hoo!!

    Off to work.


  211. Alexis Williams says:

    Whew! Ok, this week has been pretty hectic but I’m getting through it. I shouldn’t have stayed away so long!

    I have been sifting through my proposal draft trying to add and revise, and it’s tedious but I know I’m making progress. I just have to keep it specific. So tonight and tomorrow morning, I’m
    – finishing a quick edit of my section on implicit theories
    – adding some empirical depth to my sections on efficacy and emotion

    Over the weekend, I will need to work on IRB and look at measurement and maybe some demographic considerations (gender).

    Nikki, I’m tired, but I am aiming for the late zumba class tonight, and the 5:30 zumba tomorrow afternoon (I want to go to the grant/fellowship discussion that the grad-school is offering tomorrow and that ends at 5pm – wait, did I register yet?? – so I won’t be at abs at 5pm tomorrow. Oh, and I think it’s a different zumba instructor tomorrow but still fun!) Hope to see you there!


    • renettatull says:

      Dear Alexis and Nikki,

      Next week, Friday 9/24, we will have a Dissertation House “for Employees.” They will be asked to blog for the day. Feel free to join in online.

  212. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi Dr. Tull,

    Thanks for the heads up. Will it be on this page or a different one?

    Today I am so out of it. I have been on campus but have not gotten anything done all day. I am sure it’s because I’m letting myself get overwhelmed thinking about trying to do EVERYTHING I have to do rather than focusing on one thing at a time. Ugh.

    Ok, I’ll take a brief 5 minute break, and when I sit back down, it’s on. I will say a little prayer and I will work for a couple of hours until I need to move back to my office (I’m at the library). Once the day is over, I will let it go and start tomorrow with a new opportunity. :o\

    • renettatull says:

      Dear Alexis,

      I believe that there will a separate page for Friday. We’ll let you know. Dr. Carter usually sends out a messages inviting people (all DH alums) to join online.

      Take care, RGT

  213. drwestmoreland says:

    Dr. Tull,

    Thanks for the info. I have 2 doctor’s appointments that day but I will chime in when I can. It’s always exciting to cheer people on. It cheers me on.

    I didn’t get anything done yesterday. I am feeling under the weather. But I am here and I am going to push as much as I can. I actually have papers to grade and a reading for my class today so I will wait until tomorrow to write. I will plan a 20-30 minute reading of my paper. I found that reading it outloud to myself I find so many weird sentences that I thought sounded good when I wrote them. Plus I find those little grammar mistakes that I can miss at times.

    Also I will try to listen to my recordings from my advisors meeting on Friday. I started recording our sessions because we tend to talk fast and I can’t write everything down and it helps me when I edit to remember what we went over at the meeting. It was actually my advisors idea and she even gave me the recorder to use for it.

    Alexis, ZUMBA tonight? I have a soccer game but if there’s a class I would like to make it. Soccer is not turning out as the “intense” workout that I thought it would be, but it’s much fun and good to hang with my department graduate students in a more social atmosphere.

    Oh and my 1-6 from last week I COMPLETED THEM ALL!!!!! And I submitted my IRB, it is finished!

    Later Aligator!


  214. Alexis Williams says:

    Sweeeeeet! Nikki, I hope you feel better soon, and it looks like you are on a roll. You just gave me some ideas, actually…

    And what’s up with everyone getting sick? I have just not been myself the past few days; it feels like I’ve been fighting something off. I have friends who are outright sick. I guess it’s that time…

    I negotiated with my job to leave early today so I could get some more work done on my proposal and get it to my advisor. Then I left my jump drive with my proposal on it at work. But how about just this morning I saved a backup copy to my other external drive where all my proposal stuff is (and this is far from an everyday thing for me)!! God is so good…. So today, draft to advisor – take it or leave it.

    I am hoping to make zumba tonight – see you there if we can make it through the door this time…


  215. drwestmoreland says:


    I am sooooooooooooore! Either I am sick or sore, one day on and one day off. It’s all good though. My IRB was approved today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!


  216. Alexis Williams says:

    Wowww, chica! Didn’t you just submit the IRB at like 10am today? Lol!! Congratulations!! Way to get what you worked for. 🙂

    And, yeah, definitely sore today in my legs. I’m supposed to take it easy today and work on upper body but that involves the rowing machine, which also works my legs… Gonna do abs and zumba tomorrow night and then rest on Friday.

    Sooooo, I got my proposal draft turned in yesterday when I said I would turn it in! It’s still gonna need work, but I did a lot to make it better and I think I’m getting there! I was so excited to put it in my advisor’s mailbox and see that it had vanished later – *poof!* She gave me a recommendation for a dissertation support award, so I’m working on the IRB draft for that now.

    See you tomorrow at abs??


  217. drwestmoreland says:

    YAAAAAY! You turned it in and she got it is also a plus. Now let’s pray she’s reading it right now. 🙂

    I did the BOSU Sculpt class yesterday and all we did was squats and back work. My back is KILLING ME!! Do you hear me? But it was a great workout and I walked to school yesterday (well to the Metro by my house) so that was a little extra for me. Hence before I got your message I decided to leave my tennis shoes at home today. I will be at the gym sometime for a sit in the sauna. All I brought today was my bathing suit and flip flops because these muscles need heat!

    So I plan to be at Abs and Zumba tomorrow, don’t worry of your not there I will hold it down for you. Have fun today at ZUMBA!!

    So I got a few items in this week that I ordered. Before I hit the sauna today I plan to make 1/2 the edits from my advisor meeting last Friday. She is out for health reasons this week so I probably won’t meet with her until Monday. I just realized this is the first week this semester that I haven’t met with her. I have to make sure I stay on top of meeting with her because we both will fall off sometimes due too other obligations.

    Have fun at class today!


    • Alexis Williams says:

      Aww, so sad that you won’t be there today. 😦 But it does sound like you had a great workout yesterday so maybe I’ll see you on your way to the sauna. I need to hit that up sometime…

      I had a long day at work today so I probably won’t finish all my IRB stuff before working out. I will come back and finish up afterward, and then GO HOME! WOOOHOOO!!!! I heart home. *clearly delirious*

      Have fun holding it down for the grads tomorrow. I will go see Cirque du Soleil for the first time!

  218. renettatull says:

    I’m so proud of both of you! You’re getting your work done *and* taking time for health and wellness, now that is balance! So … since you have such great rapport and such great momentum, I’d like to issue a challenge. I’d like to see both of you continue to blog here … until someone finishes! And don’t worry, when one finishes, we will be there for the other both online and in the next DH and she will continue the journey with even more vigor.

    You have a developed a strong support system here. It reminds me of by Barnes and Noble buddies during my dissertation writing days. If you remember the story, we all met at Barnes and Noble (the coffee shop area) weekly and vowed that we would keep coming each week until each of us finished. We were all in different fields, and were at different stages because we had come to grad school at different times. But we kept our promise. I was the youngest, having come in last, so even though the other two had finished, I continued to go to Barnes and Noble by myself until I finished. And by the way, all of us became professors at some point in our careers. I smile thinking about it. I wish even greater success for you!

  219. Getting started at the dissertation house this morning… looks like a great source of support! Here we go…

  220. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi Mollie, Good luck!

    Dr. Tull, I like that challenge! It turns out the “online meetings” are great for me because I move around so often throughout the week, so it’s hard to say that I’ll be in the same place each day at the same time. I’ll accept the challenge, and thank you for your support in helping us get finished. I’m grateful even to be where I am so far!

    Nikki, by now you might be gearing up for abs/zumba. I hope you have a great time, and that the sauna was relaxing last night! I’m trying to kick myself off of campus so I can get ready for Cirque du Soleil. I am sooooo excited. I have no idea what to expect – I’m sure the video clips I’ve seen don’t do it justice.

    And….. I turned in my application for the dissertation award!!! I cc’d my advisor on the email version of the application that I sent (the application said in one place to send electronic files of the application, and in another place to turn in a hard copy, so I did both, lol). She replied to say good luck, and she said that the letter that she wrote for me was “strong.” Now, Dr. Tull, you might remember that I have been so consumed in the past with my fear that my advisor hates me, so you can imagine how I feel right now. *elation* 🙂

    Oh, and the staff in my office were amazing, too – one of our coordinators just spontaneously created a single pdf out of my various electronic files for me when she saw how many separate documents applicants had to submit. Awesome.

    Ok, now I really have to go! I hope you folks have a great weekend!


    • Alexis Williams says:

      P.S. I bumped into Margaret from summer Dissertation House yesterday, and she said that she passed her candidacy quals!!!! Congrats to her!

  221. drwestmoreland says:

    Hey Hey Now,

    WOW! Lot’s to say. Welcome Mollie and Good Luck!

    Dr. Tull I accept te challenge and even though this creates accountability for me I really do look forward to it. I guess I thought I would get that from my advisor or department but I was wrong. I’ll stay till WE walk across that stage. Glory! Like Alexis said I am grateful for the support and appreciate all the PUSH I can get. No-one tells you about the amount of feeling aloneness-ness you have to deal with in graduate school.

    Alexis Zumba on Friday was soooooooooooooooooo good. Abs was great also but I heart Zumba the most. I am thinking about boxing bootcamp today at 4:15 just to try something different. I will probably come to the late Zumba tomorrow. So excited! The sauna and the steam room were my BEST FRIENDS on both Thursday and Friday. I felt like I was walking on cloud 9 after I came out. I noticed a BIG difference in recovery time after Zumba and I was not sore at all on Saturday so I think it’s a big help for a later afternoon or evening workout when the muscles don’t have as much time to relax. So I recommend the sauna!

    Yay for you turning in your application. I pray that you get that award. How was Cirque du Soleil? I saw one in Vegas last year and it was amazing. Loved it! Hope your applications is getting 5 stars!

    Now what am I doing this week:

    1. Have students sign consent forms for IRB and give them copies.
    2. Scan some documents from my advisors section of 472.
    3. Make 2 half of edits from meeting with my advisor.
    4. Meet with my advisor (last week we didn’t meet because she was out for health reasons)

    On top of my classwork and TA-ship I think that’s enough for now.

    Back to work,


  222. Alexis Williams says:

    Nikki, you are sooo right! No one really warns you before you come into school that it’s common to feel sooo alone. Finding the right kinds of support (and there are several) can make the difference between finishing and giving up. I believe that.

    I’ll look forward to getting back to the gym. Last night and this morning I was having some “digestive issues” (trying not to give TMI, but I ate an abnormal amount of fruit yesterday – I think it was the grapes), and I’ve been kind of queasy and crampy all day, but I went to the library and I’m back at my grad office now to try to get some of my tasks for today done. I’m debating whether to do my Monday workout this evening. I’m so glad your workouts and cooldowns have been awesome, Nikki! They are definitely paying off for me energy-wise, too. I got MVP when my flag football team won this past Saturday!

    Here’s the work week:
    – Turn in agenda for meeting with advisor
    – Outline how I will address my advisor’s feedback from my draft
    – Read two factor mixture modeling (FMM) articles for my stats discussion
    – Return my stats library book that is non-renewable after copying some relevant sections
    – Review a dissertation from my department that used FMM
    – Try to edit my stats discussion
    – Email my stats professor 🙂
    – Start the rest of the edits to my proposal

    I feel like I forgot to say something, but my friend is in need of neosporin so gotta go!


    • Alexis Williams says:

      Oh! It was Cirque du Soleil that I forgot! It was a-ma-zing! Definitely something to save up for again one day.

      I got my advisor’s feedback today. It’s really not bad. Of course I have work to do, but the hardest part is just forcing myself to READ all the notes and realize that she’s not going to just rip my paper to shreds and use red pen to tell me in as many ways as she can fathom how I’m her worst student EVER. I recognized that familiar pounding in my chest as I read – it’s really that bad. But I’m turning the experience into biofeedback; when I feel that feeling, I will let it remind me to just breathe, check in with myself, and ask, “what’s the most realistic option right now?” If I can do that, I can bring myself back and then actually accomplish something meaningful, and then when it’s time to rest (or play), I really do feel good.

      So now I’ve reviewed the comments, and now I will make some notes about where to go next based on the comments. I will need to get some more information for some sections, but for others I have the info I need, so I can separate those things out. Then zumba, and then I’ll see my friend for a little bit to give her her birthday present!


  223. drwestmoreland says:


    I feel horrible today. I am having some health challenges. I set up a meeting with my advisor in the morning and I am not completely prepared, but I will be there anyways. I’m going by the sauna before I leave today…so ready to get home and in the bed.


  224. drwendycarter says:

    Hello All

    Nikki sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. Take a day of rest and take care of yourself; you will need all of your energy to finish your degree. Yesterday I spent the day at UMCP. It was great meeting with some past DH participants. I left the campus around 7pm. I will be back on campus on Oct 13th in the Mitchell Bldg Rm. 2105. I am posting a heads-up that I already have a 10:30 appointment for that day. Send me an email if you would like to meet.

    We have a half day Dissertation House for Employees of UMBC. Look forward to seeing you again Mollie.

  225. drwestmoreland says:

    Thanks Dr. Carter. I did rest yesterday and I felt much better this morning. I woke up ready to change the world. Got to campus ready to meet with my advisor and she’s not here. Long story my meeting was cancelled and I didn’t see it coming. I haven’t met with her in almost 2 weeks. On top of other things, this 5th week of school has been puzzling to say the least. Nonetheless, I have high spirits and I am going to keep this dissertation moving. I’m not going back, moving ahead.

    Alexis, see you later if you make it to Zumba.

  226. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi Dr. Carter and Nikki!

    Dr. Carter, I’m so glad that you’re on campus! I’ll have to send you an email about the 13th. Thank you for being everywhere for your students!

    Nikki, I’m glad you came through from your illness! It’s scary to think, with all the other delays, that some random illness could knock you off course, too. But I guess it’s also the body’s way of saying, “Hey, you can’t always just push, push, push at full speed. Sometimes you gotta slowwww down.” Definitely keep taking care of yourself.

    Sorry about the meeting cancellation, too. I met with Tamara (Dr. Wilds-Lawson) today, and she was reminding me how so much depends on other people with your dissertation, so you just have to make sure that your little piece is on point. Hopefully there’s still something you can do while you wait for the next meeting?

    Eyes on the prize because time flies!

    And I’ll see you tonight for Zumba! I’ve got my Zumba shirt! *Taking over the world … one shimmy at a time!*


  227. drwestmoreland says:

    Hello World!

    WOW! It’s October. My advisor says “So Nikki it’s October and I don’t know what we are going to get done this month”. Hence, I must self motivate. I have good news and not so good news. The good news is that I completed all my tasks from last week. The not so good news is that this week has been *that* week and I can’t even remember what I did yesterday.

    My advisor and I are taking a little day trip today to southern maryland higher education center. This will be good because we will talk about my research on the way down. Although I didn’t finish some readings that I wanted to before I saw her again, I have the papers in hand and we can look at them on the way down there. She is teaching a satellite course and we are going down to meet with her students down there taking the class.

    I am leaving for Tennessee tomorrow for a wedding weekend in Nashville. Alexis I remembered why I would miss Zumba today, because I got a perm yesterday and well you know. I will be back Tuesday at Zumba. I leave tomorrow so today is my Friday. Since I am spending it with my advisor ALL day I can’t help but hope that it is a productive one.

    Dr. Tull I read your husbands story about the roaches and fell out laughing, I won’t son forget that one. Dr. Carter I will see you next week, hopefully all smiles.


    • renettatull says:

      Hello Nikki,

      I’m glad that you enjoyed his post, I’ll let him know this morning. You’re in a good place with your advisor. The comment about not knowing what will be done this month is signifying “You’ve been on a roll, let’s see how productive you’ll be this time. I’m looking forward to it.” She has invited you to join her to meet with her class … again, this is a very good sign. It means that she feels a level of connection, and it makes takes you to an even higher level of being “her student.” This is exactly what you want from an advisor at the doctoral level, engagement and even a level of extension. In the future, she may invite you to guest lecture!

      Get as much rest as you can this week. Reduce or eliminate sugars and dairy as much as possible so that you can keep your strength up. Drink plenty of water, and hot herbal teas also help.

      Take care!

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  228. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi all,

    Ok, well, at least I’ve got the herbal tea part right, Dr. Tull. Lol. I’m going on a reduced-chocolate, dairy, and facebook diet. I’ve been so tired and distracted lately, so it’s time to tighten the system back up and bring out the serious artillery: prayer, rest, exercise, GOOD food, lots of water, no snoozing in the morning, no slacking off during designated work time, no excuses.

    Nikki, I hope your trip/extended meeting with your advisor went well, and I understand about what my friends simply refer to as “The Hair.” 🙂 And this whole graduate school experience is about learning how to run the show, so it’s good that you’re keeping your advisor on her toes! You’ll be excellent when you have to do that with your students (you probably already are).

    I still have some work to finish up from last week, but my meeting with my advisor this week went well. To do:
    – Work on edits from my advisor’s feedback
    – Meet with my stats committee member
    – Send my meeting agenda for next week’s meeting
    – Send out the call to my committee members for their schedule in the next month for the proposal meeting (eek!)

    They say the proposal is the hardest part, so I have to attack it like I want it to be OVER with!! Because I do! And soon, before I know it, it will be. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend, ladies.


    P.S. I really want to know, but I’m not sure, about the roaches…

  229. Alexis Williams says:

    – Worked on edits, more to go
    – Sent email to my advisor with questions
    – Emailed my stats committee member for meeting
    – Finishing the edits this week to submit by Friday.
    – Recovering from motivational freak-out this weekend. Doing a lot better after getting support from friends.
    – Going to gym now.

  230. drwestmoreland says:

    Hey Ladies,

    I’m back and better than ever! God is so good, I got rest beyond the river. The wedding went well. I didn’t catch the bouquet though, funny thing was it actually hit the floor meaning so one tried to catch it. It was good too see my friends from undergrad and we had a blast.

    This week I am:
    -Meeting with my advisor (tomorrow at 9am)
    -Meeting with Army Reps to talk about doing research on professional engineers down at Pax River in California, MD
    -Write summary on D.Schon’s work

    I have some reading to do for class and some edits to my teaching philosophy. Alexis I may/may not be at Zumba tonight because I need to unpack and get my life together and such.

    Have a Wonderful WEEK!!


    PS: I meet with Dr. Carter tomorrow, I better get ready.

  231. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi All,

    Nikki, I have definitely been the one inching away from the bouquet, but I don’t know if I’ve been to a wedding where SOMEONE on the ladies’ side wasn’t taking the dive for it! Lol! Musta been a bunch of independent women at that one. 🙂

    Glad that you’re feeling great! I am on the up-and-up like Target after a tough weekend motivationally/emotionally. Feeling a lot better and taking small steps. You reminded me last week that Dr. Carter is here tomorrow so I will meet with her, too. Did you get the note that they moved the room she’s going to be in to 3214 Benjamin? Double check that.

    A little birdie told me that our Cece will teach tonight at zumba, so I hope you make it! But I’ll understand if you don’t (sniff).

    Oh! And my dad is/was an engineer – he retired when his job was relocating, and I think it was to Pax River. I am not familiar anymore with what he did, though. Good luck with the study!

    Have a great week, too!


  232. drwendycarter says:

    Hello All

    I spent the day at UMCP yesterday and saw some former DH members as well as new potential members. It’s always nice to see old friends and meet new people as well.

    I will be back from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on the following

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010
    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Location: 3214 Benjamin Building. This is the Counseling and Personnel Services office suite. Remember, upon entering the suite ask the receptionist for lab room number 1.

  233. Alexis Williams says:

    Buckling down. I’m trying to submit proposal edits to my advisor tomorrow, and I got feedback from the committee that reviewed my dissertation grant application today. It was frustrating to read their critiques, which asked for things that weren’t specified in the application documents, but that it makes sense that they would need.

    I feel better after going back to the letter and reading it again – it’s the equivalent of a revise and resubmit for a manuscript, which I’m told is promising. I will go over my application with my advisor tomorrow and get back to it. No need to get discouraged. *Sigh*

    Ok, so tonight, finish my revisions and print them out. Print out my final application materials for the award. Print out my advisory meeting notes from May. Go over these with my advisor tomorrow. Continue proposal revisions and revisions to the application over the weekend. Only focus on one part at a time. God help me.

  234. drwestmoreland says:

    I did meet with my advisor and I wrote my summary of Schon’s work. We didn’t go to Pax River yesterday because my advisor was under the weather. I have a really busy weekend. I met with Dr. Carter on Wednesday and I have a Lit Review to start. I plan to start writing that Monday. I have spent today working on my Teaching Philosophy for my class and getting ready for PROMISE mentor training in 20 minutes. I have a teaching fellowship application to send off on Monday, I am ready to mail I am just waiting for a letter from my department chair that I expect to get on Monday. Dr. Carter challenged me to finish my Lit Review before I go home for Christmas. I plan to do just that.

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright will be preaching at my church Sunday of anyone is interested. Metropolitan BC on 1st and P Street in DC NW. I am going to get out of here before I am late to the PROMISE meeting. Alexis, I plan to be back on my workout game next week. Thanks for holding it down for me, I missed seeing your smiling face this week. See you soon.

    Have a Great Weekend!


  235. drwestmoreland says:


    Literature Review (enough said).

    See you at Zumba tomorrow Alexis.


  236. Alexis Williams says:

    Pushing myself to finish these last few (but somewhat challenging) edits!!! I can turn them in tonight, go to the gym, and then go straight HOME afterwards (hopefully to clean and rearrange my place for the fall/winter season).

    – Last page of chapter 3 is partially done but still needs revamping so “even my grandmother” can understand my statistical discussion (but the good news is that I have a meeting with my stats committee member next Monday).
    – Debating how much more stats to read in order to better understand what I am talking about
    – Add one more article’s info for my teacher efficacy section
    – Fix up some general ugliness throughout the document – weird wording, sections that I rearranged but didn’t check to make sure that the flow is still there
    – Re-work my dissertation award application so that I have explained everything that the letter said was missing.

    Nikki, it will be great to see you this week! I am determined to keep myself on track, too – I had a moment last week where I could tell that the fact that I had just finished a great night of Zumba buffered me from what might otherwise have been a “Smackdown” moment… Not that I would have gotten violent, but I was amazed that I was calm at a moment when a lesser comment would have sent me off crying somewhere. 🙂 🙂

    See you soon!


  237. Dr.Poinson says:

    Good morning to all,

    This morning I am working my plan to buckle down and finish a draft of chapter 4 by the end of this month. To accomplish that goal I am committed to the following:
    1. Coming to the library from 7:45 am when the shuttle drops me off (having car trouble but I have to be in my carrel to get work done) to 4:48 (when the shuttle picks me up).
    2. Start the day with attainable goals
    3. Blog
    4. Staying focused and keeping it moving

    Today, October 19th: Plan of Action
    1. Email Dr. Carter 1 section of chapter 4
    2. Work on 2 sections of chapter 4
    3. Have lunch with friend
    4. Work on 1-2 sections of chapter 4
    5. Go home and enjoy my family

    All the best to everyone who has accepted the Dissertation challenge.

    Coming soon… Dr. Poinson

  238. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning,

    I am at the library and on my way to my study carrel.

    Today, October 20th: Plan of Action
    1. Freewrite for 20 minutes (chapter 4)
    2. Work on 3 sections of chapter 4
    3. Have Lunch
    4. Work on 1 section of chapter 4
    5. Review yesterday’s 4 sections
    6. Go home and cancel my Verizon service!


    • drwestmoreland says:


      Good luck today and I hope you get to all your tasks for today! The study carrelis a good idea, and now that you can have food in the library you can stay longer or go eat downstairs in the cafe’. I work mostly on my desktop so the librar doesn’t work much for me anymore.

      Keep us updated, we’re here and we’re listening!


      • renettatull says:

        I’m so pleased to see that all of you continuing to work. Keep it up … Continue to support one another through the process!

        • Alexis Williams says:

          Yes, this is awesome! We’re ready to get out of here, lol.

          Keep pushing, Manouchka – we’ll push with you.

          *Note to self, I might need to cancel my Verizon service, too…. Just phone and internet went up by $20 over two months!!*

  239. drwestmoreland says:

    Afternoon All,

    Today I met with my advisor for almost 3 hours and we talked about my proposal. I kind of have 3 or 4 different parts I am working on in parallel and she said that I am on track to *mostly* finishing it by December. I am going with her to Pax River tomorrow to meet with some Army guys and talk about rapid prototyping. I decided to drive because she will satelite teach after the meetings and I need to come back and do work in my office. Today I will polish my teaching philosophy and order some computer software before my 3:30 pm class and then I am going home for the day after that.


  240. Alexis Williams says:

    Hi All,

    Whew! I’m learning that my childhood fears are true! I used to get freaked out at the thought that whenever I would do a good job with something, people would ask me to do MORE! Lol. What I didn’t know then was that getting asked to do more can feel good if I let it, and it can get me places where I really want to be, AND, if I do a good job often enough (or at least keep TRYING and getting feedback often enough), that freaked out feeling gets smaller and is replaced more and more by confidence and determination… And when – or before – all else fails, pray!

    I got my proposal and award applications turned over to my advisor yesterday for feedback, and I had the nerve to think I might have a couple days before she got back to me. Silly. She gave me feedback on the award already, and I’d better get it done before she gives me the proposal feedback to work on, too! At first I felt discouraged because there are some big changes that she wants me to make, but then I thought it’s better to use her expertise and suggestions as tools to make my product better. When I get overwhelmed, I’ll just make a smaller goal. It’ll take time but I can do it, and I have the time right now!

    Nikki & Manouchka, good job on doing what works for you (Nikki, I see you got out of the roadtrip in the same car, AND you spent a lot of time talking … about your proposal! 🙂 Way to stay on track! And M I don’t know how early you have to get up in order to catch the early bus AND be at the library just after 8, but that’s serious determination right there.

    I’m sleepy so I’m gonna try to get something done before I hit the gym tonight. Upper body weights and the rowing machine – woohooo! Nikki it was great to do Zumba with you yesterday. Maybe some tea now…

    Hope everyone has a good night!


  241. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning all,

    I am here at the library again. Today is a good day. I went to bed early last night and I am not sleepy. Yesterday I took my first nap in my carrel (I know, I’m being honest here). I kept it moving after taking a nap. I left my carrel and walked down seven flights of stairs to get my energy back. Verizon is lucky that it got to live to see another day in my house. When I went home and picked up the phone to cut my service because my bill was over $1000, I looked at the name on the account and realized that I had opened up someone’s bill (a woman who lived in my house before me). I was relieved because I was not okay with giving Verizon my money. I am still canceling my service though. Cable is a waste.

    Anyway, thank you Nikki and Alexis for your encouragement. I am new to blogging and trying my best to make it a habit. Its a good feeling though, knowing that out there someone else is being productive and trying to reach that finish line.

    I am enjoying the commuting (once I get to where I need to be that is), not the waking up part. I am proud of myself because this is what its going to take to get it done. Sacrifice and fierce determination.

    Yesterday was productive. I accomplished most of my goals.
    Today, October 21st Plan of Action:
    1. Finish last section of chapter 4 (from yesterday)
    2. Review and revise 4 completed sections of chapter 4
    3. Have lunch
    4. Insert transitions where needed, remove sections in chapter 4
    5. Print chapter 4
    6. Print CV and job search documents for tomorrow’s AMST professionalization workshop

    All the best today to Nikki and Alexis. Thank you for your support.

    Thank you Dr. Carter for encouraging me to blog and join a community.


    • renettatull says:

      Congrats on blogging!! You’ll enjoy the community and you’ll be energized by knowing that you’re not alone.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  242. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning to all,

    It’s been a very productive week. I finished my work on the 8 sections of chapter 4 and now I am ready to get the latest draft of chapter 4 out to my advisors.
    Today, October 22nd Plan of Action:
    1. Edit the print copy of chapter 4 by 1pm
    2. Send chapter 4 to advisors for review before leaving campus today
    3. Attend AMST professionalization workshop
    4. Start working on 1 section of chapter 5

    Thanks Dr. Tull. I do feel like I have people on the other end of the computer with me in this process.

  243. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning all,

    Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a good start to the week. I am glad to be back at work this morning. I was at the library yesterday and finished revising my CV. I didn’t think it would take me that long for such a simple document, but I got a lot of suggestions from Friday’s AMST professionalization workshop that I attended. Today my two main goals are to:

    1. Revise Teaching philosophy
    2. Draft 4 cover letters
    3. Send CV, cover letters and teaching philosophy to professors for recommendations.

    As I am moving and thinking forward about my dissertation I am taking the time today to pause and apply for work. I am applying to two post docs and two teaching positions. The effort that I am putting into applying for these positions will surely help me to continue my momentum with my work, as the positions are contingent on the degree.

    All the best today,

  244. drwestmoreland says:

    Manouchka good luck with the job hunting. I know that must be a good feeling to be *ready* to even apply for them. Congrats to you and best wishes.

    Alexis, I will be at Zumba tonight but I will be sad becaise SREB is going to cause me to miss it on Thursday. I love SREB though, it should be called ‘the greatest black minds gathering’ .

    This is a short week for me. I am out of town Thursday and Friday.
    Yesterday I worked out some logistics for my pilot study. I am ready to write my literature review and problem statement, but I need time. I am in a time crunch this week and I don’t know how to get out of it. It is discouraging me because I want to write and I have things to say but not much time to say them. I feel like my life is a week ahead of me and I am running behind it screaming ‘hey wait for me’. I see the cliff of motivational meltdown ahead on the horizon. YET, I will keep going. I’m moving forward and doing the best know how. God’s faithfulness and mercy are the reason I am not consumed by the complexities of life. I have hope.

    Now, off my little rant. Back to work.

    This week I have 1 goal:

    1. Start writing literature review. In my Background and Literature Review section I have the background written but not the review. I read the books, papers, journals now I need to write about it.



  245. Alexis Williams says:

    Oh my goodness – you ladies are amazing. Look at all the hard work you’re putting in, and you’re determined even though there is so much to do.

    I remembered (finally) to come back and post because I knew that there was a place where folks would understand what I was going through – all of it. I found that at least one other person has admitted to falling asleep in her carrel (ha! How many times have I done that? But when I wake up, I can get back to work and not have to be worried that someone has nabbed my laptop while I was knocked out). I also found out that at least one other person feels like she is trying to chase after the week and pin it down so she can fit everything she has to do neatly inside…

    I emailed my advisor today because I am supposed to turn in a final draft of my proposal to my committee on Friday and I hadn’t heard from her about revisions (I gave her my draft last Tuesday, and she’s usually quick to turn things around, so I know she’s swamped). She told me that she wouldn’t have the draft suggestions til late next Monday. I had the hardest time figuring out how she wanted me to arrange things with my committee (advisor-speak is like Greek, apparently – thanks for the warning, Dr. Carter). I ended up just emailing everyone individually and asking if it would fit into their reading schedule if the final draft came within the 10-business days before the proposal. Among the responses came the BEST reassurance from one of the committee members: “You may get it to me even a bit later if needed. Your best work a bit late is preferred to hurried work sooner.” Not that I think everyone should share this mentality necessarily, but that short email reminded me that I can do this, and that my committee really does want me to succeed.

    Anyway, so tonight I’m continuing with my own personal revisions, including the tedious work of fixing all my references that I got a little lazy about toward the end. I’m also creating my presentation, which I will practice with some grad students in my department as early as tomorrow.

    I’m still getting to the gym pretty regularly, which is really working to give me mental stamina and resilience to withstand setbacks. I get so lost in my experiences there sometimes (at zumba, or just doing weights and stretching), that I lose track of how silly I might look. But I don’t care! Lol. I just love getting to feel stronger and more relaxed – happier with each push. I try to translate that feeling into my work. It’s hard, but I know I can do it.

    Manouchka and Nikki – Push it good!


  246. renettatull says:

    Alexis, Manouchka, and Nikki,

    You’ve made it to November and you have been doing so well with your goals and objectives! Congratulations! I’m also so pleased to know that you are keeping physically fit during this process. Keep up the schedule and the good work, and you’ll find that you’ll be healthier than when you started. Imagine that … being beautiful women in great health … with your doctorates! It’s a wonderful thought that is in the process of becoming a reality.

    This past weekend in Ohio, I was at a talk by Dr. Ray Rodriguez (Biologist, University of California Davis, , and he reminded the audience that your academic life at all stages (student through faculty member) needs to be balanced and you need to prepared for the rigors on all levels … emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I leave that thought with you, knowing that you are supporting one another and pressing forward!

    All the best to each of you!

    -Renetta Tull

    • Alexis Williams says:

      I love this post about balance. Just seeking it as a major priority has helped me accomplish goals that I couldn’t accomplish if I were prioritizing just those goals at the expense of balance. Now ain’t that a paradox!?

      Here’s a newsletter that I put together for a time management workshop at my assistantship – it helped me as I assembled it, because I had to reflect on so many things. Actually, I meant to make a note that I put Dr. Carter’s info in it! Lol.

      Click to access UTLP%20Workshop%20-%20Time%20Management%20All%20Handouts%2010-1102.pdf

  247. drwestmoreland says:

    Hello All,

    I was on the shuttle bus this morning and 2 other grad students I know happen to get on the bus. We talked about our struggles breifly, laughed, screamed, and wished each other well. I was caught unaware by this moment of encouragement on a random Tuesday morning! God know that was exactly what I needed as I mulled in my mond over the fact that it’s NOVEMBER!!

    Today after class and inbetween Zumba I am writing more of my literatire review. I will meet with my advisor in the morning so we will see how that goes.



  248. Alexis Williams says:

    Soooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiired. Gotta keep my eyes open for these last few pages…… Turn in proposalllllllll.. *snooorrrrre*

  249. drwestmoreland says:


    Meeting with my advisor was not what I thought it would be. This is the point where some/most grad students say I quit and take the Masters degree. I did not come from a jello mold.

    Me and Jesus can handle this!

    Moving Forward.


  250. drwestmoreland says:


    Today I plan to:

    1. Update methods section
    2. Create a segmentation example
    3. Create the opposite of a segmentation example
    4. Write literature review of segmentation

    That’s all folks. I am going to be out of the country all next week so I don’t have anytime this week to play around. I met with my advisor this morning and I am meeting with her again tomorrow at 2pm so we’ll see what happens.

    Have a Great DAY!


  251. Alexis Williams says:

    Ok, this week is flying by! Nikki, keep at it, and we’re behind you! Don’t settle even when the conditions are far from perfect. It will be worth it in the end, because you are learning how to negotiate the PROCESS.. Gotta love it…

    I met with Tamara (Dr. Wilds-Lawson) again on Monday and it was great to reflect through her eyes on how my perspective is still changing from that day at Dissertation House this past summer when I was crying over my lack of progress. She kept saying, “Well, that’s great!” or something like that, when I told her how things have been going. So many differences from just a few months ago. I just found out this week that I received a research support award from the College of Education that I can apply toward my data collection! The committee that reviewed my application didn’t accept it right away, so I got to see what it’s like to try and try again, and see the value in trying again even before I knew the outcome, and then find the icing or the cherry on top, which turned out to be happy news. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Today I had my practice proposal defense with my advisor, my lab mates, and a few other friends in my department. It was really a great experience to hear their feedback and suggestions without panicking because the presentation wasn’t perfect. Lol. The first thing my advisor did when I finished the basic presentation was ask everyone if they could tell what my study was about. It was one of those test questions that clearly had some critique behind it, but I’m learning that my advisor’s whole style is to question, question, question and see if I can arrive at the conclusion that she has in mind (if there IS one – sometimes she’s really just asking a question!). It’s nerve-racking and I have spent a lot of time getting unraveled by it in the past, but this time I welcomed her guidance, and saw how she taught ALL of us who were there through her probing. Eventually she told me what she was thinking, and she agreed to look over my revised presentation tomorrow.

    SO! Tonight I’m working on the revisions to my powerpoint so I can turn that in tomorrow, and I’m going to read over my proposal again. And I’m going to get some sleep, and not hit snooze in the morning. Pray for me on all this, please, especially the no-snooze part! 🙂


  252. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning All,

    It is so good to read that Alexis, you practiced for your proposal defense yesterday (congrats on the research support also) and Nikki you are pressing forward with your lit review. I’ve missed sharing with you ladies on my progress but you have been on my mind and I wanted to let you know that I am still out there rooting for your success.

    Last week was a little slow because I had a family emergency and was a little distracted. This week is going great. I am enjoying my study carrel more and more. It is really becoming my private office. Since my last update I have been working on much of the same, but I plan to wrap it up today in order to prepare for my meeting with Dr. Carter tomorrow (trying to find the best route via the bus). Today I have a postdoc application due that I am submitting, so that is my biggest goal for today.

    Alexis, I too met with Tamara (Dr. Wilds-Lawson) this week and one jewel that I can share with both you and Nikki from our meeting is to practice visualizing your success, every step of the way. I know that we have heard this in some form or the other, but this week it really stuck with me. After our meeting, I practiced visualizing every step that I needed to take to reach the end. I saw myself submitting that full draft to my chair, setting a date, practicing my presentation with Dr. Carter, ordering my class ring, buying my cap and gown, walking into that defense room and “defending myself”, leaving the room, returning to the room to hear that I passed with very few revisions. This is truly powerful. Visualizing yourself at the next stage that you need to be creates the positive atmosphere for it to actually happen (of course with preparation and perseverance).

    All the best today.


    • Alexis Williams says:

      Yes!!! What a powerful visual. And when you can see it, you subconsciously act upon what you see and then OTHERS can see it, too! I love that you reminded me of this because this morning I sent my boyfriend a text about a realization that I had: I caught myself thinking about what I will post on my FB status WHEN (not IF) I pass my proposal defense. It was a tiny reminder of how my vision had changed regarding what I’m capable of accomplishing and what’s not too hard for me if I stay in the game. I will keep following that visualization all the way to the end (which is really, as they say, just a beginning).

      Keep pushing!


      • drwestmoreland says:

        WOW! This is what I needed to hear: I practiced visualizing every step that I needed to take to reach the end. I saw myself submitting that full draft to my chair, setting a date, practicing my presentation with Dr. Carter, ordering my class ring, buying my cap and gown, walking into that defense room and “defending myself”, leaving the room, returning to the room to hear that I passed with very few revisions. This is truly powerful.

        I am going to write that in my journal today and read it until it sticks. Maybe I should meet with Dr. Wilds Lawson or something to get myself some motivation. Dr. Carter is coming next week right?

        I remember she was coming the week I was going to be out of the country at my conference. I am trying to get myself set-up to work when I get to Canada because all my documents and everything is on my desktop in my office. Working away from my desk is difficult but not impossible.

        I met with my advisor twice this week and things are getting sticky but nothing that I can’t handle. My goal for today and tomorrow is to write write write. I have some good sections in my lit review to polish.

        Alexis practicing your proposal! Woo Hoo!!!!! When is your date and time so I can say a prayer for you? I’m gonna shake the heavens and send a band of angel’s your way.

        Back to work.

        Thanks for the encouragement ladies!

        Keep Going!


    • renettatull says:

      Good evening!

      There are some other students who regularly come to UMBC from College Park. Can you check with them? Text me for their info: 443-610-2552.

      -Dr. Tull
      Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

  253. drwestmoreland says:

    Alright Manouchka! I did it, just now so I had to share. Write the vision and make it plain so I can see it. I have to see it before I see it or I never will see it.

    Visualizing myself becoming Dr. Westmoreland.

    1. Finishing my literature review
    2. Coding the pilot study journals
    3. Analyzing the data
    4. Finishing my methods section
    5. Selecting my committee
    6. Setting a date (proposal)
    7. Submitting my full draft to my chair and committee
    8. Making my slides
    9. Practicing my presentation
    10. Defending my proposal
    11. Getting “Yes’s” all around
    12. Ordering my FREE business cards
    13. Getting a dissertation fellowship
    14. Applying for my Master’s Degree
    15. Getting my Master’s Degree in the mail
    16. Collecting more data
    17. Writing my dissertation
    18. Setting a date (dissertation)
    19. Submitting full draft to my committee
    20. Making more slides
    21. Reserving a room, ordering food
    22. Buying a new suit
    24. Buying my cap and gown
    25. Few revisions
    26. Walking across the stage and getting my hood!

    The End……or as Alexis said just the Beginning

    That felt GREAT! Sure there is lots of stuff inbetween that will happen, but you ladies get the point.


  254. drwcarter says:

    Hello All

    I will be back at UMCP Nov 17th, 2010 (9am-5pm). Hope to see you there. Stop by, catch me up before the holidays!!!!

    Congratulations to Dora who has a proposal defense date and Maritza who passed her qualifying exam!!!!

    Nikki purchase the class ring; I purchased my class ring within 4 months of being on the UW-Madison campus without having finished a semester, passing an exam, or finishing my master’s thesis. I was that confident that I was going to complete a PhD. Remember, my motto is “leap and the net will appear.” Stop waiting to see signs of the net, where it should appear, when it will appear, etc.

    • Alexis Williams says:

      Hi Dr. Carter!

      I will be at work on Wednesday, but I’ll try to come by again, hopefully first thing. Will you be in the same room?

      Thanks for your help!


  255. Dr. Poinson says:

    Good morning all,

    Congratulations to Dora and Maritza!!! I know it feels good…

    It’s a great Monday morning and I am looking forward to a great week. It is such a treat to be on campus before 8:00 am. Though I look sleepy and having a bad hair day, it doesn’t matter because I am heading straight for my carrel. I feel like I have the whole day ahead of me. Okay, enough chatting… On the bus, I wrote out my plan for today, and other things… This is what it looks like today:
    1. Freewrite for 20 mins
    2. Read chapter 4, then reflect on my response to this chapter
    3. Write abstract for conference proposal due TODAY.
    4. More editing of chapter 4
    5. Attend class observation at 11:00 (CTE UTLP requirement)

    Rush home to make dinner tonight: we’re having my favorite veggie (asparagus).


  256. Alexis Williams says:

    Ha! Why is the first thing I want to write, “Funny, Manouchka, I didn’t see anything wrong with your hair!”??? LOL. It was great to see you today, and I’m still happy after a great course observation (and even after I took an involuntary nap at my desk).

    There is so much inspiration just in these last posts. It will help when we get little bumps in the road to just change the tire and keep the vehicle moving toward our destinations. Congratulations to Dora and Maritza, and congratulations to us for still setting, posting, and meeting our small goals which become major accomplishments. And for envisioning them to begin with. And for encouraging each other all the way.

    Oh, and another accomplishment: *drum roll* I passed my proposal defense! 🙂 🙂 🙂 It was on Friday. There are some changes to be made, but I don’t have to do another proposal defense ever again in grad school (unless I try to get another doctorate, and I’m not THAT crazy)!!!! What got me through, besides all that praying, was thinking of it as “just the next logical step” after preparing the proposal document – it’s time to talk about it and have an opportunity to justify my thinking, to fill in any blanks I missed, and to get expert help on how to make it better. That way it doesn’t have to be this monstrous, impossible feat. AND there’s no major depressing let-down after all the dust has cleared and it’s time to get back to work again… Just happy celebratory dancing. Preferably salsa. 🙂

    Now the next logical step is to make some changes that my committee gave me to make it an even better project. I will start that by typing out a memo to my advisor acknowledging the changes to be made and my plan for getting them accomplished (this is part of the agreement with the committee). Simple enough, no?

    Nikki, you’re probably living it up in Vancouver right now, so enjoy the conference and the beauty of the north. I’ll kick up my heels for you at the Zumbafest on Thursday!

    See it before you see it so you can SEE it!! 😀


  257. drwestmoreland says:

    BOOOOOOOO! Well I am having a good time in Vancouver and I found free Wifi at Starbucks in my hotel so now here is my International Dissertation House Post! I love it. I am sad that I will not be at Zumba FEST! But I know why I am here and I met with someone this morning that might lead to a potential job. I got some advice yesterday from a grad student that he started looking for a job and that motivated him to finish his PhD faster. My presentation is in about 45 minutes. Then I have some networking events and since today is the only day that the sun is going to be out I am going to try and make it my tourist day. I am going to try to head up to the mountains and walk across a 300 foot suspension bridge that’s 450 feet above the forest ground!!! Oh my. If I go I will post some pictures on facebook later.

    CONGRATS Alexis!!

    Dr. Carter I am going to miss you this week and I think I will order my ring soon.

    I gave myself Monday and Tuesday to relax and Wednesday is my writing day. I have 1 session in the morning and 1 in the afternoon and I will be writing in between. My room has beautiful mountain views and a very nice chaise lounge facing the window. Perfect writing conditions if I ever seen any. The views here are breathtaking. I will post a few pictures of facebook here in a minute before I run out to my session.

    Wish me luck on my presentation. I am not nervous and I usually am so I am not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

    Thanks ladies for keeping me on track!

    With Love from Vancouver, BC!


  258. Alexis Williams says:

    LOL, Nikki – I’m so glad you had a great experience at the conference. I haven’t talked to you yet about your presentation but I’m sure it went well. I laughed bc of the “not nervous – good or bad?” part of your note. Maybe the more we do this stuff the less nervous we get. I’m just at a place right now where I’m in new-ish territory and trying not to freak out; really the fact that I’m in new territory is the only constant, so I have to recognize the discomfort and embrace it as an opportunity to blaze my trail a little further.

    I got two migraines in under a week, so I have to keep taking good care of myself. I know I got stressed out over some things that happened last week, so I have to keep my basics flowing – sleep, exercise/relaxation, good food.

    This week I am trying to just organize and report back to my advisor all of the to do’s that we came up with during and after my proposal so that my study can get off the ground as quickly as possible. I’m trying to transition from the written notes that my advisor gave me to a concrete plan of action, and I have no idea what I’m doing. So here I am, posting on the blog, so that I can get all my jitters out and then just dive into what I think my advisor wants from me, so I can turn it in and find out. 🙂

    So things to do this and next week:
    – Plan of action (to do list and deadlines)
    – Work on RQs again
    – Set up meetings with advisor and stats committee person
    – Review IRB required sections (advisor wants me to revise my current IRB draft)
    – Inquire about final measure
    – Familiarize with Survey Monkey
    – Work on stats background

    I hope everyone has a great week, and that the holiday offers an opportunity to relax and remind yourself of what you’re doing all this for in the first place. I’m learning to be grateful for the good and the bad, because in each is a different kind of opportunity. Even when I fall back a little, and regress to giving in to my fear, I can appreciate that I’ve still grown so much, and that I can always keep going because for me, right now, the light is still green. So go, go, go!


  259. Yasaman says:

    Hi all,

    I am Yasaman, now a PhD Candidate(!) at UMBC. I attended dissertation house in summer. After this long time, I checked this blog yesterday and saw how others have been so proactively involved, congratulations to all of you who have achieved goals and to those who will accomplish missions soon!
    I submitted a conference paper in mid October, which was my goal when I attended the dissertation house. Then, I defended my proposal defense successfully on Nov 18th. So, now I am a PhD candidate! 🙂
    Thanks a lot Dr. Carter, and Dr. Tull for your support and help.


    • Alexis Williams says:

      Hi Yasaman,

      Congratulations! Those are (at least) two big accomplishments so hopefully you find a way to reward yourself and are inspired to keep pushing. I say at least because really isn’t it all just a series of struggles and hills and mountains (and random hoops to jump through as some have told me) that you have to keep overcoming? So hopefully you recognize that every day that you add something more to your work, you add to your big successes. At least, I’m finally starting to recognize that. FINALLY. 🙂

      We’ll be here for you, and Drs. Carter and Tull are definitely amazing mentors who’ll be here (or there, or somewhere) for you, too. Pardon me, I’m a little delirious as usual. I just got off (paid) work and am trying to kick out some (research) work before my work(out – yay, Zumba!).

      Have a great holiday!


    • renettatull says:

      Congratulations Yasaman! I also saw this listed on the MAPLE Lab’s website. This is wonderful news. Thank you for sharing it here!

  260. drwestmoreland says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Dissertation House!


  261. drwestmoreland says:

    CRUNCH TIME! There are not other words to describe the last 2 natural weeks of the semester. I read this article this morning and I hope it helps you all out there: I hope the link works, if not I can e-mail it to anyone who wants it. The scholar sho wrote it presented at SREB Conference this year and she was really good! I would recommend to sign up for her weekly e-mails that are ull of good advice.

    Today I plan to:
    1. Finish Scanning Journal Pages
    2. Formulate Exit InterviewFormat
    3. E-mail Students Time Slots
    4. Reserve Conference Room for Interviews
    1. Workout (Run 1-2 miles)
    2. Make it to Messiah Sectionals by 6pm

    I am pushing it today, but I think I can do it!



    • drwestmoreland says:

      Today was a good day! 🙂 I ran 1.5 miles and I walked the last half but hey I did something. 🙂 I scanned all my journal pages. 🙂 I e-mailed my students 🙂 I didn’t reserve the rooms because I haven’t heard back from the students yet. I am about to leave in 10 minutes to get to Messiah by 6pm. 🙂 !!!!!!!!!!!! WHEW! I have formulated the Exit Interview Formats, but I need to refine it some more.

      • Alexis Williams says:

        Woohoo! Work it, lady! Hope to see you tonight! And running, walking, hop-scotching – who cares? You’re moving – mentally and physically – and loving life (maybe not during, but you will afterward at least)!

  262. Alexis Williams says:

    This year is bringing so many unexpected things. Some good (awesome), some m’ehh, some really bad, but I’m understanding that God will get me through if I just trust beyond reason and keep putting one foot out in front of the other.

    This week I am fixing up the preliminary changes to my proposal that will get me my advisor’s signature on my certification. I met with my stats person today, and actually felt GOOD when I finished. There’s lots of work, but I feel like I can do it. So next:

    – Type and format the notes from my meeting for submission to my advisor.
    – Review the stats sources that my stats person didn’t nix (I actually have LESS to read than I started with because some of what I had was “too technical”!).
    – Download the student version of the stats software that I need.
    – Try to test run a sample data set and replicate the results.
    – Request a meeting with my advisor to go over what I’ve done and what’s next.

    That should keep me busy for a little while. I’m off to Zumba in a few minutes. Woohoo. I was reminded today and over the holiday that when I take care of my whole self, my work can be so much more effective, and I actually – kinda sorta – WANT to do it.

    I hope everyone has a great week and got a little rest over the holiday. 🙂


    • renettatull says:

      Don’t you love it when you get to the point where your work is “too technical” or “too complicated?” Enjoy simplifying and take it as a good sign of being even closer to being finished!

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      • Alexis Williams says:

        Dr. Tull, that’s a great way to look at it. Success is nothing if not the ability to keep an adaptive perspective.

        Trying to finish up a couple of documents to turn in today before my advisor leaves campus! My adapted research questions and analysis plan, and my IRB. Then I can feel good about the week!

  263. drcarter says:

    Congrats on defending your proposal. I hope that you will continue to use the strategies from the DH to finish your dissertation.

    Despite the electricity outage on campus at the beginning of her defense, I am proud to announce that Dr. Adrienne Starks (a DH Alum) successfully defended her dissertation with minor revisions!!!

    I also want to note that I will be at UMCP on Monday December 6, 2010; Please stop by or make an appointment via email. Nikki see you tomorrow.

  264. Juan C. Aponte-Santini says:

    Hello from Puerto Rico, did not write much here because I was writing a lot, but thanks for the support as always … and on Monday presented my proposal to my committee …

    • renettatull says:

      Hi Juan! Congratulations on getting your proposal finished. Have a great meeting with your committee on Monday! This is exciting news. Be sure to let us know how it goes! It was good to see you in October in San Juan. It looks like you all had lots of fun with the Chemistry Festival.

      Renetta Tull

  265. drwestmoreland says:

    The last week of school. Really? It call came so fast. I am ready for the winter break and the work that comes along with it. This week I: (1) Conducted 4 exit interviews for my design study (2) Revised my problem statement and e-mailed it to my advisor (still waiting for her edits and comments) (3) I wrote an outline for my literature review (I wrote a lit review that was more like a book report so I kind or had to re-vamp it) (4) I met with Dr. Carter even though I was lost and could not find her for a while (5) I backed up my original journal files just in case I mess up the ones I am testing AND (6) today I plan to write more literature review and submit my proposal to one committee member who has requested to review it in it’s present state.

    That’s all folks!


  266. Alexis Williams says:

    Look at you, gettin ‘er done, Nikki! I can’t believe the semester’s over already, too. I want it to be over and I want more time simultaneously…

    I have a meeting with my advisor tomorrow, and I have a feeling she’ll want me to have accomplished a bunch of stuff in the time since I submitted what she’s supposed to go over with me tomorrow. I know one of the things is a second consent form for teachers in my proposed study, but the rest I’m kind of guessing at.

    So tonight I’m 1) reviewing my IRB docs again and making any last changes, 2) reviewing one more county’s requirements for third-party research, 3) reviewing my committee’s suggestions for my study, and 4) skimming a stats article that I’ve been meaning to read. Then to the gym for abs and zumba.

    I hope the PROMISE Reflections program went well tonight. I could use the relaxation but I decided to stay and work. 😦 I really enjoyed it when I went before, though; was that last year? Man time flies…

    Ok, bye!


  267. Alexis Williams says:

    Got two signatures from my advisor: my final proposal signature that I need that shows that I’m approved for the study by my committee, and one for my IRB! Got another signature from my department liaison so the IRB application is good to go to the review board. Awwwwww, yeah!!

    Zumba time!


  268. drwestmoreland says:

    Hi All,

    I am so excited about my vacation next week to Texas (Houston, Texas that is). I had a meeting with my advisor today that was cancelled so I am going to to spend today wrapping up things for the semester. Sorry I missed Zumba this week I have been busy and I had meeting in Silver Spring Tuesday at the same time. This week I wrapped up the things I needed to do for the promise peer mentoring program. I plan to apply for dissertation house in the Winter term. I really wish we could have dissertation house every week. I did e-mail a copy of my draft proposal to 2 of my committee members this week and I hope to hear back from them soon. So I will be home December 21-26th, then I will be working from Indian Head, MD at the NAVSEA office for an externship on December 26-31st. So I have one week of vacation and one week of internship then on January 3rd I plan to be back in the office working on my proposal. During my internship I will do some reading for my proposal, probably just a few books that I need to review and see if they are pertinent to my topic. I have about 20 library books on my desk that need to be returned to McKeldin. I scheduled my vacation and internship with my advisors vacation so I pray that we spend some quality time together in January working on my proposal. I wish everyone rest and a peaceful holiday with family and friends. I am happy to say that I worked so hard this semester that I am going to really enjoy my break with no regrets of what more I could have done. I shot for the stars and landed in the clouds, the better I get the closer to the star I will be.

    I will be singing with my church choir “G. F. Handel’s Messiah: The Oratorio” this Sunday December 19th at 6:00pm at Metropolitan Baptist Church on 1st and P St NW in DC. (1400 1st Street) Anyone interested is welcome to come, the conert is free to the public.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Until January 3rd…..

    Be Blessed and Keep Going.

    Warm Regards,


  269. Juan C. Aponte-Santini says:

    Finally I presented my proposal A to my committe! I got a good feedback from them and I’m really proud of my job right there thank you for the time and all the inspiration…this morning when I woke up before defending, there were some words on my mirror…yeahp I wrote them yesterday…'” GOOD MORNING DR. APONTE-SANTINI…YOU CAN DO IT” and it worked…thanks for all your time. By the way I got a picture of the NCW in the C&EN. Hope everyone finish at some point their word and keep it up…you will feel the satisfaction of the days that you have spent working on it…I promise 😀

  270. drwestmoreland says:

    Happy New Year!

    I am excited about the opportunity I have to continue my education and that this new year is full of possibilities! I am pregnent with possibility, promise, potential, and PRAISE! You know the thing about being pregnant is you can’t put it to the side, it’s always with you everyday. It never goes away, even after birth.

    My first day back in the office and all is quiet in the engineering building. Me and my advisor plan to meet tomorrow. Today will be filled with returning overdue books, checking my 200 e-mails, cleaning my desk, registering for the spring semester, laying out my semester calendar, and wrapping up my internship.

    Last week I did a 1 week internship with the Navy in Indian Head, Maryland and it was a great learning experience. Although I desire to become a professor I want to keep other options open as well and my advisor was nice enough to let me do that for one week. Bless her.

    Now I’m back in proposal mode!!!

    Alexis, I will try to make Zumba but I am trying to take it easy on my body until February so we’ll see.

    Happy Tuesday!


  271. I simply want to mention I am beginner to weblog and honestly savored this blog. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your site . You definitely have awesome articles. Cheers for sharing with us your website.

  272. Tracy Irish says:

    Good morning al,
    I am back at DH with energy and a plan to make final edits to chapter 3 and 4.
    Good writing to all.

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