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Countdown to Mother's Day: Day Six Suzanne West

In honor of Mother's Day, Doctoral Mom would like to introduce you to the amazing women that make up the Doctoral Mom group. Join us as we listen to their advice and stories.

For day six of Countdown to Mother’s Day we have Suzanne West from Florida State University. Suzanne is a mother of two and her area of study is educational leadership and policy.


What’s your favorite part of being a mother? Can you give us a specific example?

"My favorite part of being a mother is watching my kids evolve into their own personalities. One day I was leaving Target with my two kids and a large egret flew overhead in the parking lot, very low, gliding and gawking loudly. Everyone in the lot just stopped and stared at it. Then I pointed at it and said, “Kids, look! A pterodactyl!” My four-year-old daughter gasps and says, “cool!” And my three-year-old son says, 'No, mommy. Pterodactyls are extinct!'"

Doctoral Program

What is/was your dissertation topic?

"My dissertation is titled 'Strengthening Child Care Training Curriculum and Credentialing: A Case Study of the Child Care Apprenticeship of Pinellas.'"

What is the most difficult part of the dissertation process?

"Staying motivated. I wanted to quit at least ten times a semester. I spoke to my major professor at least twice, seriously, about leaving the program. Balancing being a single mother, working full-time, and completing the program was as painful for me as child labor. Every day was a baby step. Believe it or not, it was the last two semesters, when I was closest to the finish line that I struggled the most."


Where are you in your career journey?

"I was recently promoted as a curriculum specialist in my school district. This is the job that I have aspired to since my early twenties. The two who held the position prior to me were my mentors, and one of them was my former teacher in high school. I feel like all my dreams have come true. It’s truly been the highlight of my career, and I know my doctorate has made a huge impact in getting me into this position."

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