Lebanese doctoral learner finds growth in program
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
God challenges us so that He can test our faith and determination: This is the approach doctoral learner Katia Cheetany takes when confronted with trying times.
Cheetany, who traveled to campus this week for her doctoral residency, immigrated to the U.S. from her home country of Lebanon when she was 19 years old. Her knowledge of English was limited, but after her now husband moved to the U.S., where he had family ties, she decided to make the move with him, becoming the first from her family to make the journey to the United States.
“I spoke French and Arabic. I had to learn,” Cheetany recalled about her early years in America 26 years ago.
Once she picked up on the language, Cheetany would dive head first into her passion: education.
“I love learning. I close my computer after reading articles and I grab a book and I read,” she said. “I read a novel and learn something from a character, so I truly love learning. I love developing as a human being because we can always learn. We’re never done learning.”
She would go on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Nevada State College and her first master’s degree from National University in California. Her second master’s is from Southern Utah University. Now she is pursuing her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership in Education with Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies. It has been a journey that has had its share of bumps in the road, but Cheetany refused to let that stop her.
“It’s been an incredibly character-building experience,” she said. “I need to finish because not finishing will take away any meaningful accomplishment I’ve had before.”
Her family also is holding her to that goal.
“I am grateful to have a loving family,” Cheetany said. “My husband and two sons are my pillars. They encourage me every day, and they’ve stood by me through my entire educational and professional careers. Without their love and support, I cannot be where I am at today.
“From my husband and sons in Henderson, Nev., to my parents who are still in Lebanon, I have the best family support. Even though my parents are thousands of miles away, they support me with their love and prayers every day, making the distance between us a simple physical space. I reach out to them whenever I need them, and they are always there for me.”
In addition to her family, Cheetany also credits her friends for continuously offering their support as well.
Cheetany also teaches science to kindergarten through fifth grade students at Vanderburg Elementary School in Henderson, a job she doesn’t take lightly. She uses the knowledge she has received in her doctoral program and takes it to her classroom back home. She teaches 973 students in a six day rotation.
Cheetany plans to leave no stone unturned in her doctoral journey and wants to get as much knowledge as she can from the experience.
“From every professor, I learn something. At the end of every class I walked out with something,” she said. “To me, I feel like every single class gave me an opportunity to grow academically and personally. I am definite that at the end of this journey, I’m going to have even more to take with me.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or firstname.lastname@example.org