A HUGE congratulations to Ashlee Tatman, Coordinator of Student Support and Academic Advisor, who recently earned a doctorate in higher education from Ohio University!
What was your dissertation research on?
"The Appalachian region, particularly the topic of Appalachian college students, is quite under researched and the literature available tends to be founded in the more negative aspects. For example, there are journal articles about the many obstacles Appalachian college students face but little research about the traits of those who are successful. I wanted to know how Appalachian students made the choice to attend college. The title of my dissertation is How They Choose: How Appalachian College Students Choose to Pursue Higher Education."
How do you plan to use your degree in your occupation?
"In many aspects I already am. All of my degrees are in education with my master’s degree in college student affairs administration and my doctorate in higher education. My current job, and many jobs in higher education, are designed specifically for someone with my educational background and passion. I thrive here, and I like to think I do a good job for our students and our campus. I would love to advance to a higher education administrative leadership role, particularly at OHIO Chillicothe. I also love teaching and my doctorate may open the door for me to join the faculty ranks. I don’t plan to leave OHIO, but I’m definitely open to opportunities. I’m keeping my eyes and ears open."
How many years have you worked at OHIO Chillicothe?
"I have worked at OHIO Chillicothe since 2010 with a brief seven month stint at a local non-profit in the middle. I learned that I love this place, and it’s where I belong."
Any advice for others thinking about pursing an advanced degree?
"I have so much advice! My biggest piece of advice is to just keep swimming. I defended my dissertation in the last few weeks of my last semester of a two-year extension to my program. Between course work, comprehensive exams, and the whole dissertation process I’ve been pursing my doctorate for nine years. In that time I got married twice, divorced once, had two babies (Ezra is almost 7 and Crosby is 5 months), lost five members of my family, changed my dissertation topic completely, changed dissertation chairs twice, and lived through a pandemic that rocked my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I used to feel a bit of shame that I let so much get in the way of my doctorate, but now I have a tremendous amount of pride that I earned this achievement despite adversity.
I also have to say that I’m a first-generation college kid. My dad is a retired beer truck delivery guy, and my mom just retired after 45 years from the same company she started at through her high school vocational program. As the first in my family to go to college, I didn’t know what I was doing, and my parents had the expectation but not quite the understanding of what it meant to enroll in college. There were times where I felt so overwhelmed, confused, sad, left-out, and like I didn’t belong. I did belong though, because education is for everyone. And now my parents have two children with doctorates. It’s a pretty amazing story."