Archive for Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Shouts and Murmurs: Graduates achieve their goals

May 25, 2005

My husband read a news article yesterday that said women who are better educated tend to sleep better.

If that's the case, my sister, Loralee Stevens, should be dreaming sweet dreams.

This past weekend, she graduated from Kansas University with a doctorate in educational policy and leadership.

The booklet handed out at her hooding ceremony, held Saturday afternoon at Lied Center, listed 240 students who received their doctor of philosophy degrees at KU during the past year.

While sitting in the balcony at Lied Center as the doctorate recipients received their hoods -- the colored fabric swags they would wear with their graduation gowns -- I perused the program book, looking up the title of each person's dissertation.

Loralee's dissertation I had heard about, from her, as well as from Mom and Dad, who helped her with the numerous proof-readings. Loralee, the community outreach credit coordinator at Johnson County Community College, researched and wrote her dissertation on "Hope and Recovery: A Study of College Students in an Addiction Recovery Program."

Though I hadn't read her dissertation, the title was self-explanatory.

So were plenty of others, for instance, one new doctorate recipient wrote this dissertation: "Social Perceptions of Home Schooled Students." Another focused on "Post-Bereavement Experiences of Older Widowers: A Qualitative Study." And another, written by a psychology student, "Raising Standards Following Success."

Isn't that a little like the phrase, "raising the bar"?

Here's one most of us probably would have to consult a dictionary to understand: "John Stuart Mill: "Utility, Liberty, and Eudaimonia."

In looking up the last word of that title, I learned that eudaimonia is Greek for happiness. Now it makes sense -- utility, liberty and happiness.

There probably are some chemists would likely want to wrap their arms around this dissertation, "Hydrogen Bonding Motifs: Stabilization of Metal Ions with Chalcogenido Ligands." But I would bet most of us wouldn't have a clue what it was all about.

Here's another dissertation that leaps to the over-our-heads category: "Microsomal Metabolism of N-benzyl-N-cycopropylamine. Evidence for the Involvement of N-oxidation in the Inactivation on Cytochromes P450."

Obviously, that dissertation would be understood by a very limited-in-number audience.

Some of the dissertations looked at national issues. For instance, "Terminal Impact: President George W. Bush's Rhetorical Campaign to Market Ballistic Missile Defenses in the post-September 11 Security Environment."

And others took the worldly view. Here's one: "Dams, Doors and Divans: Staging a National Narrative Therapy in Chile, Argentina and Spain."

I don't know what that dissertation is about, but it has an intriguing title.

Here's a dissertation that, unless I'm mistaken, applies to music popular with the younger generation today: "Through the Blood: Death Metal and the Rhetoric of Song as a Transcendent Discursive/Presentational Form."

This might be an interesting topic for the medical community: "A Computer-Based Cognitive-Behav-ioral Intervention for Recurrent Pediatric Headache."

For the socially aware, several of the dissertations focused on gay and lesbian issues. Here's one: "Lesbian Couples Choosing Parenthood."

And, for those who care about animals, here's an interesting topic, "A Voice for the Voiceless: The Politics of the Animal Rights Movement."

What started as an outing to watch my sister graduate, turned out to be an interesting study into what topics can make up a dissertation.

Obviously, the number of topics is unlimited. These examples are only from KU. It makes me wonder what doctoral candidates at other universities are writing about.

And while we're talking about college achievements, congratulations little sister.

Dream sweet dreams.


Another Tonganoxie resident, David Becker, the son of Gene and Debbie Becker, received high honors this past weekend. Becker graduated from the KU School of Medicine.

Becker, who graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 1997, soon will begin a four-year residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan.

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