Reflections on Holmes Retreat: The ‘Needle-Moving’ Effect

holmes-retreat-participants
Participants at the AACTE Holmes Dissertation Retreat and Research Symposium, July 26-28, 2018, Rowan University

As I reflect on the 2018 Holmes Dissertation Retreat and Research Symposium, one word strikes me repeatedly – timely. As a doctoral candidate in research methods and evaluation, I am currently finalizing the blueprint of my dissertation. The past 3 years in my program have been an exciting mix of academic and cocurricular activities where I have learned how the theory works. Now, in the final phase of my dissertation, it is time to transform the knowledge and competencies I acquired thus far into credentials–i.e., get my degree.

The sessions in the July retreat at Rowan University (NJ) were just what was needed to “move the needle” on my dissertation gauge. Thoughtful sessions not only provided us with resources for continuing and finishing our doctoral work, but also brought invaluable insights on how to expand our scholarly endeavors beyond graduation.

Each session reiterated the need to prioritize getting done with our doctoral research–although importantly, the guest speakers, our mentors, encouraged us to not just finish, but to do it well! The presenters shared inputs on methodology and vital information on financial resources (grants and fellowships) that are critical for enabling us to complete our research. We also received invaluable guidance and mentoring on life after graduation, which I think was a very strategic way to get us prepared for the professional world.

I would like to thank all the guest speakers and mentors for sharing their time, effort, insights, and experiences with us, and for making us believe that the “three letters” we are striving for are within reach! Before arriving at Rowan University (which, I must say, is a beautiful campus) I had the desire, but probably not enough focus, to target my efforts toward advancing specific areas of my dissertation. Interacting with other Holmes Scholars and the mentors at the retreat brought a timely infusion of momentum to move my work to the next level.

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Seema Mahato

Holmes Scholar, Ohio University

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