GUEST COLUMN
NEVER STOP LEARNING
FROM M.C.I. TO PH.D.
by Michael Duncan Wyly
Continued from Home Page.
Laura Wyly became Doctor Wyly as she donned the hood and distinctive cap of a Ph.D. a week ago Saturday.
Laura came to Pittsfield in 1995 to begin as a freshman at M.C.I. Now Laura Johnson under her married name, she will be addressed as Dr. Johnson by her students at Georgetown College, Kentucky, where she serves as Dean of Students.
Upon graduating from M.C.I. in 1999 she immediately began college work at the University of Maine, Orono (U.M.O.), receiving her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and then without a break continuing on at U.M.O. to complete her Masters in Social Work. Eastern Kentucky University (E.K.U.) hired her right out of U.M.O. as Residence Hall Coordinator. After two years Georgetown College asked her to serve as Area Coordinator. Laura accepted the position and in another year and a half was promoted to Director of Residential Life. Then, a year ago, the “promising young professional” was promoted to Dean of Students.
But Laura was not finished learning! While she was still Georgetown’s Director of Residential Life, guided by the words of her predecessor as Dean of Students, “You can only be a promising young professional for so long”, she tackled yet another milestone in her education: “ Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation”. She enrolled in the doctorate program of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. It would be a five-year journey, all the while continuing her work in the college administration.
“Right now it’s the relief, knowing it’s at last over!”, she responded when asked after the ceremony how she felt. “The prestige and honor – that may come later.” Her dissertation is entitled “ Gender Discrimination and Title IX Implementation: Lessons from the Office of Civil Rights Letters, 1997-2011”. As chief benefit of her education she cited “Being able to advise and mentor with confidence students, colleagues, and the institution that employs me.”
Laura also spoke of the reward one feels, sharing discoveries in class along with friends and colleagues in the work world.
From elementary school on U. S. Marine Corps bases where her father served, through home-schooling, high school, graduate school, and from her employment right out of college, Laura has never known a break in employment or full-time study – one or the other - and since her employment right after achieving her masters, full-time paid work has been uninterrupted, even while education continued. It’s what people mean when they say “You never stop learning.”