South African values structure of doctoral program
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Hestia Elmes wants to become the first doctor in the family. That’s why she came all the way from Hartbeespoort, South Africa, for a five-day residency organized by the College of Doctoral Studies.
Elmes, who is married and has a young son, Bester, said she was drawn to begin her doctoral journey with Grand Canyon University for two reasons.
“South African universities, the degrees are not on the same standard as the rest of the world, so I wanted to do something outside of the country,” Elmes said. “Then I found the Doctor of Business Administration Program, I looked at a few programs and then I saw that GCU has one that’s online, which obviously worked for me very well and also that it’s a Christian university. So it was like, ‘I’m definitely doing that,’ and that’s when I started.”
Throughout her time in the program Elmes has come to appreciate the structure that GCU’s College of Doctoral Studies has created for its learners.
“The way the program is structured is very nice,” Elmes said. “You had all your subjects at the beginning, which is more like your basics to lay the foundation, and now we’re at the stage where it’s becoming more dissertation oriented so you kind of know where you’re going and there’s a lot of lectures to help you get there. It’s not as scary as you just go there and do your dissertation.”
Despite the solid structure, Elmes’ path through her program hasn’t always worked out as planned. Early on in the process, her pregnancy with her first son required her to do some rescheduling.
“When I was scheduled for the residency, it fell on my due date, so I had to move the date of the residency later on to when my baby was 4 or 5 months old,” Elmes said.
Now, about two years into her doctoral program and nearing the dissertation phase, Elmes attended her second residency while pregnant with her second son, Christoff.
Once she passes her dissertation phase, Elmes has plans on taking a proper tour of the United States.
“When I’m graduating I’m bringing my family, my mother, my mother-in-law — everybody’s coming to watch me do that and then we’re planning on doing a little tour of America because at this stage I’m literally just coming for the classes,” Elmes said. “I want to see more of America.”
Elmes plans to utilize her doctoral degree by teaching at a university back home in South Africa.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.