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Her doctoral chair’s support was key to graduation

July 14, 2021 / by / 5 Comments

The bond between a doctoral learner and their dissertation chair is one like no other. This was especially true for Dr. Laurica Yancey, who recently completed her doctoral program. Throughout her program, Yancey had to take on caretaking responsibilities for both of her parent, all while working full-time and going to school. When things got challenging and she was on the verge of calling it quits, her dissertation chair Dr. Theodus Luckett helped motivate and support her through out the remainder of the program. “I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for Dr. Luckett,” Yancey said. “He was an example in terms of I’m paying it forward to other people because of what he’s done for me.”

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Doctoral chair’s daughter, 10, is a published artist

July 07, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

It’s not every day that a 10-year-old’s artwork is showcased in a published book. But College of Doctoral Studies chair Dr. Wanda Fernandopulle wanted to set up her daughter, Angelica Gary, for future success in the art world. Thus, the book “Exploring Angelica’s Art” was born. “When I’m not looking at dissertations, doing dissertation defenses and helping all my doctoral Learners out at Grand Canyon, this is my other life in terms of her academics and also honing in on her gift,” Fernandopulle said.

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From young bride to doctorate: an inspiring story

June 30, 2021 / by / 5 Comments

Dr. Ana York’s life has been anything but easy. From getting married when she was 14 and having her first child at 15 to having to work long hours while also going to school, York has faced a number of obstacles that could have kept her from obtaining her doctorate. But in the end, her drive and love of education persevered. “I’m very grateful because throughout the process and all of those highs and lows and frustrations, I always saw the hand of God,” she said.

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GCU changed doctoral learner’s life for the better

June 10, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Erick Hester’s time at GCU has turned his dreams into reality. After graduating with his master’s from GCU in 2018, it wasn’t long before the urge to challenge himself further brought him back to pursue his Ph.D. in Psychology. “Dating back to my master’s, I couldn’t ask for a better university,” he said. “It’s literally changed my life.” Last in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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Learner’s goal for doctorate: serving fellow vets

June 09, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

After 28 years of serving the country as a member of the United States Air Force, Stefney Dunson plans to use the research for his Ed.D. to help his fellow veterans avoid homelessness. “My goal is to go back into the VA system and help with the issue of homelessness and see if we can bring those numbers down,” Dunson said. “I know there’s a lot of issues out there with veterans right now, and after spending 28 years in the military and having some of my young folks go into the world and end up homeless, I want to be able to continue to serve, in some way, those who wore the uniform.” Sixth in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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Family, doctoral chair are motivation for learner

June 08, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

Christina Solares already has a bachelor’s and master’s from GCU and enjoyed it so much, she’s working on her doctorate. Her connection with her chair, Dr. Tetiana McLemore, has helped shape Solares’ dissertation. “The chair that I have, she’s the only person I can think about when I come back to this doctoral program,” she said. “She has pushed me so hard and she’s so supportive, and that is probably the number one thing that us doctoral students would ever want.” Fifth in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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Helping others is key for veteran in doctoral program

June 04, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Russell “Russ” Kuhn has had an impressive career of service, from his time in the Navy to his work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) acting as an advocate for abused and neglected children. It only makes sense that Kuhn, now a university development counselor for GCU, has big goals for the Ph.D. he is working on. “I’m hoping my dissertation itself will help universities significantly improve doctoral graduation rates,” he said. Fourth in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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Education never gets old for 75-year-old learner

June 03, 2021 / by / 2 Comments

In all her years in academics, Ophelia Brown’s love of knowledge never has dwindled. The 75-year-old doctoral learner and retired geriatric nurse practitioner has completed a number of different degree and certification programs in her career and ranks her GCU experience at the top of her list. “In all my academic environments, this is one of the best environments,” she said. “They’re supportive, the religious foundation is good but not overwhelming and I haven’t had one professor that I thought that I couldn’t talk to.” Third in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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An attorney, a single mom … and now a doctorate

June 03, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

As a single mother and attorney, Shaina Thompson is no stranger to the struggle of juggling multiple roles. She is seeking a doctoral degree from GCU because she hopes to establish more family-friendly policies in nonprofit law firms. “It’s difficult to have a place that understands that everyone’s life is not very cookie cutter, and finding an institute that will provide support for that and encouragement is very important,” she said. Second in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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She’s fashioning an inspiring example for her family

June 01, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

Many 25-year-olds still are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. But for Mireille Mukiza, her pursuit of a doctoral degree from GCU is just one impressive accomplishment she can add to her resumé. Her education is an inspiration to her family back home in Congo, where women are not encouraged to pursue higher education. “I’m a woman and I can do it,” she said. “I know my degree will have my name on it, but it kind of feels like a family achievement.” First in a series highlighting learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. 

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