resurfacing, and thank you’s

It’s been a LONG time, but for good reason. I recently had my oral defense for my PhD, and passed!

I’m taking a writing quarter, so I’m not Dr. Wedge quite yet. Basically, I have to finalize the written thesis, having handed my committee a rough draft 2 weeks before my oral defense. I concentrated on my results, discussion, and the background introduction, so my acknowledgements were the one section I left in outline form. I’ve recently begun filling that in, and wanted to share this section in particular.

My son, J, was born at the beginning of my third year here at Stanford, smack dab in the middle of what is generally considered the most trying portion of a Ph.D. His arrival did not set me back; rather, it propelled me forward. Not only did J put the small setbacks at the bench in perspective, being responsible for his care pushed me to be efficient in my time at the lab. Most importantly, he taught me that to be a better mother, I need to be a happy person, and that for me, an integral part of being happy is being involved in science. I am so thankful for his mellow, sweet personality, which was a source of happiness at home, and allowed me to be fully immersed in my work at school without guilt, without regret. Amazingly (but perhaps not surprisingly) I find that as I have toiled towards the end of my Ph.D., the roles are reversing despite his tender age. I want to thank J for helping take care of me emotionally through this stressful time, and for helping me to realize who I am and where I want to be.

Most of all, I owe the biggest and most effusive thanks to the love of my life, R. I knew since the day I first laid eyes on that mischievous smile, back in my freshman year of college, that he was something special. Every year of the subsequent 15 years since then has been better and better. R has been my biggest supporter, my most ardent fan, my most sane reality check. He encouraged me to apply for Ph.D. programs even while he was nearing the stressful end of his own Ph.D. He gave up a much sought after job offer in Washington D.C. to follow me to Stanford and allow me to spread my scientific wings. And most importantly, R has been my equal at home, where he willingly picks up the slack when I am stressed, where he truly shines as a capable father and husband. Through all of the craziness that has been the past 6 years, he has maintained his quirky sense of humor, his pragmatism, and his love of life. He truly has enabled me to be a better scientist, friend, wife, and mother. R, I dedicate this thesis to you.

Just as he dedicated his thesis to me.

In recognition of his support, I also chose to ditch the octagonal hat that came with my commencement robes, and wore the square hat that he wore for his own commencement 6 years ago.

R in 2006, me in 2012. A few of you hopefully appreciate the irony of that hat being at both Crimson and Cardinal schools 😛

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