Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dissertation? CHECK!

Well I took a month absence from the blogging world...probably because I took a month absence from a lot of things in my life as I prepared to DEFEND MY DISSERTATION!

June 27, 2013
12:55 pm, all ready to go:

so glad Abby snapped this picture to document this happy day!

Guess what, I PASSED!! I want to remember the wonderful people who came and supported me by listening to me drone on about membrane biophysics. Annie, Abby, Ryan, and Ivan represented the family, and Dad, Mom, the Bosters, and Josh were there in spirit!! (Russia and Texas are a little too far away for a day trip and Josh had to work). My roommates Steph and Marissa came and saw a whole new side of their roommate haha. I had friends from my program (Shalene, Mikayla, and Julie), my ward (Bro. Cope, Patty, Shawney, and Mary), my committee (Dr. Bell, Dr. Judd, Dr. Stark, Dr. Burnett, and Dr. Bridgewater), and supporters from the department (Connie, Dr. Woodbuy, Dr. Thomson, Dr. Kooyman, and Dr. Sudweeks). After my presentation, they dismissed everyone except my committee to grill me. It was actually just a great experience to feel like an equal with my committee as I defended my research. They excused me from the room while they deliberated... then invited me back in to congratulate me, shake my hand/hug me, and sign the paperwork. BEST. FEELING. EVER. 

I have now turned in the final copy of my written dissertation. :) I have decided not to stress about my job search too much today and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment! Today I wrote the Acknowledgements section of my dissertation and got nostalgic thinking of my time here. I realized most of the people I mention probably won't see the hard copy, so I thought I'd share it here so they know I love them!!

First, I am so grateful to my family and friends for supporting me and cheering me on throughout my educational career. My parents especially are my biggest fans. I would like to thank them for believing that I could do anything and always encouraging me to develop my talents to the greatest degree possible without ever making me feel pressured to do anything. I loved it when they read my papers and acted impressed, even if they didn’t completely understand them.
I don’t know if I have the words to express my gratitude to my mentor, John Bell. I am so glad I took my freshman biology class from him at age 18 and that he took a chance and let me into his lab even though it was full. Since then, he has taught me how to think, how to write, and how to teach. I will miss our brainstorming sessions, writing parties, team-teaching, talks about life, and inside jokes. He and his wife, Rhonda, are like family to me, and I have loved spending time in their home.
I would like to thank my amazing graduate committee, Allan Judd, Michael Stark, Sandra Burnett, and Laura Bridgewater, for investing their time into helping me develop as a scientist. Dr. Judd especially has been so helpful with both my coursework and research and has become a dear friend. I will miss his advice and teasing.
I am also grateful for the many people that have worked with me in the lab for the past 7 years. I can’t mention them all by name, but they truly were my second family during my time at BYU. I am grateful for Anne Heiner and Rachel Bailey for mentoring me as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, so many lab members contributed to my dissertation: Hannabeth Franchino, Lauryl Campbell, Mike Streeter, Ashley Warcup, Katalyn Pickett, Celestine Yeung, Kelly Brewer, Lynn Anderson, Stephanie Melchor, Mike Murri, Eric Moss, and Amy Hamaker. In particular, Jen Nelson has been both a cherished friend and an invaluable collaborator. Our conversations about science and life will always be some of my fondest memories in the lab.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics at the University of California, Irvine for allowing us to use their two-photon microscope. I appreciate the assistance of Dan Reschke, Trevor Washburn, Ross Ahrendes, and Steve Barben with confocal microscopy and flow cytometry experiments. I would like to thank Connie Provost for doing so much behind the scenes that helped me finish this dissertation. I am also grateful for the funding provided by John Bell (NIH Grant GM073997), the PDBio Department, and the BYU Cancer Research Center.