Doctoral Learner Spotlight: Cathy Ames

Cathy Ames in a library

Meet Cathy Ames, a learner in Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies. Get to know her and learn about her experiences at GCU.

Tell us about yourself.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. My teaching certificate and principal certificate expired, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do as a career path. I didn’t know anything about technology.  I started going to school at Grand Canyon University and had to play catch-up really fast. For three months, all I did was learn about technology; how to go to school virtually, how to turn in a paper online versus to an instructor. I’ve learned all that, and it’s really been a great experience.

Why did you choose GCU?

Part of the reason I chose GCU is because I didn’t want to be exclusively online. Here, you can go to school online or you can be part of a cohort on campus. We come to campus for classes once a week. We also take five classes that are online. I liked that combination.

Another part of the reason I chose GCU was that the start time was convenient. At other universities, I would’ve had to wait almost a year to start their program. GCU starts new cohorts every few months. That works great with my schedule.

What have you enjoyed most about being in the College of Doctoral Studies?

The content that they’re giving us is interesting. GCU provides a website for doctoral learners, and you can go on that website and look ahead to find out what you need to know for your dissertation. You can go on there and see what other researchers are researching. You can see what other topics people are working on for their dissertation.

What are you most excited about as you continue your program?

When I’ve completed my program, I’ll have a doctorate. I can go into a research area. I can teach in higher education. I’ve already started researching with an instructor here at GCU. We’re hoping to publish our project. Who knows where I’ll go after this?

What would you like other learners who are considering coming to GCU to know?

You can go on the GCU website and take tutorials and webinars, which I had to do many times in the beginning. There’s so much information out there that you can learn about. It’s really helpful. The instructors do pretty much everything they can do to help you succeed.

Additionally, you start your dissertation within the first year, which is different than other universities. Your instructors have you think about what topic you’d like to pursue during your first couple of classes. By the time you’ve finished your coursework and you’re just working on your dissertation, you’ve already got a lot of skin in the game. You don’t want to stop.

The College of Doctoral Studies at GCU offers campus and online programs to help accommodate your busy schedule. Contact us to learn more about our programs and opportunities to earn your degree.

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