2018 Year In Review: Legendary

What a year! Wow! Is it me or did 2018 fly by?  In December 2017 at a book club with friends, I shared a hashtag that I came up with for 2018. I’ve been coming up with hashtags for each year for a few years now (great for social media posts too). It is not necessarily a new year’s resolution but akin to a word of the year. It’s something that I constantly see, use, and affirm daily. The hashtag was #2018islegendary. As I recap two highlights from this year I can truly say that this was one of the best years of my life and legendary!

  1. Finished my PhD at NCAT
  2. Founders Day Speaker at WSSU

Finishing my PhD was and is a huge accomplishment. The journey to PhD is not for the faint of heart. During the process not only will you learn more about your passions/scholarly work, but you will also learn more about yourself. You will learn how to preserve, work ethic, time management, editing, research, fortitude, politics, and so much more. In July of this year I PhinisheD my doctorate journey at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. I couldn’t have chosen a better university! North Carolina A&T State University is the largest Historically Black College and University in the nation. It gives me great pride to be graduate of such illustrious university who known worldwide to have the best homecoming on earth (#GHOE)! Although finishing was all that I had sought to do, I was able to not only finish my doctorate but made history as the first woman to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science from the university! The day that I defended my dissertation was so surreal. I was exhausted, happy, and overwhelmed by it all. To this very day I’m still processing and taking it all in. While a student, I had the distinct honor of being a Chancellor Distinguished Fellow . In summary, this means that my education was funded by the university. I implore you to take a look at the requirements and apply for this fellowship if you are interested in a PhD at North Carolina A&T State university in a STEM discipline. You will not regret it!

Another accomplishment this year was being asked to be the 126th Founders Day Convocation Speaker at my alma mater, Winston-Salem State University!  Can we pause for a minute on this? What an honor! I am still taking this in too. If you know or follow me you know how much I love Winston-Salem State University. I’ve been very active as an alumna over the years and cherish the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.” I remember when I was asked to be the speaker trying to gather my thoughts for a speech. Let me just say these types of engagements are tough as you never know how you will be received. I wanted my message to be about the university and to have something in there that would touch everyone in the audience in some way. The history of the university was important to include as to appreciate the current you must understand the former. That speech can still be viewed here and I hope to do more talks/speeches in the future. One point of interest here is that I am the youngest person to ever give the Founders Day Convocation speech. 

There are so many other things that I am leaving out that happened this year and so much more to come in 2019. If you are wondering, yes, I have a hashtag for 2019 (stay tuned via social media). I’m also looking forward to what comes next in my journey.  What were some of your accomplishments from 2018? Did you do a vision board for the year or use a hashtag too? 

Cheers finishing up a legendary 2018 and to beginning a monumental 2019!

Check out a few shots from 2018 below. 

My 2017 Year End Review

At the close of each year, I like to reflect upon my lessons learned as well as any accomplishments. I do this for many different reasons. One reason is that I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. A second reason is that I’m way too hard on myself and often times forget things that I’ve done. My 2017 certainly had its share of ups and downs both professionally and personally. In spite of everything, I must say that I can’t complain. Although there were many low points (very very low) of the year that I don’t care to remember, I’d like to take a moment to share a few highlights from my Ph.D. journey this year:

  • I completed all of the coursework for my doctorate program
  • I passed my Qualifying Exams (See the previous blog post for tips)
  • I passed my Preliminary Exam/Research Proposal
  • I was a Grace Hopper Scholar (See the previous blog post)
  • For the first time ever I traveled to:
    • Fort Wayne, Indiana (presented a co-authored publication and was a Travel Grant recipient for MAICS)
    • Savannah, Georgia (presented a co-authored publication at CogSIMA)
    • Tuscon, Arizona (WiCyS Scholar/Travel Grant recipient)
    • San Jose, California (Facebook Travel Grant recipient for the @Scala Conference)
  • Was a National Society of Blacks in Computing Travel Grant recipient (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Won the Oustanding Ph.D. Graduate Student Teaching Award (This was the first time my department has ever given this award!)
  • Was an invited speaker at 6 different events
  • Volunteered for 4 different Tech/STEM events (INTech, Boy Scouts of America, FIRST, NSBE)

This is only a portion of what I was able to accomplish this year. Keep in mind that these are only items related to my Ph.D. journey. I share these things not to boast but to share how good God is. When you put the time, energy, and effort into anything, I can assure you that you WILL get a return on your investment. Each one of these achievements came with many obstacles. There were also things that I wasn’t able to accomplish this year that I hope to work on in 2018.

As 2018 swiftly approaches, I hope to do even more this upcoming year than I did the last. I’m currently working on my goals and vision board. What does your Year-End Review look like? What do you aim to achieve in 2018? What keeps you going? Here is a collage of photos from 2017. Let’s make 2018 #legendary.