I have successfully completed my PhD in Sustainable Development and Diplomacy (proof below!). The process went quicker than I thought it would, but I'm not complaining!
I've been in school for the past 7.5 years (since January 2013), with a small break between my Masters and PhD program. I've done two extensive research studies in that time, read countless (hundreds) books and articles, and have been exposed to some of the great minds in sustainable development and in the history of the church as it relates to the intersection between faith and work, as well as the church's relationship to creation. It has been a privilege and a pleasure.
Since there won't be a graduation, let me express my thanks to a few key people here as it relates to this work:
- My colleague, Dr. Phillip Walker - When I met him in Ghana in 2012, he started pushing me to get my Masters. When I started it in 2013, it didn't take him long to start talking about when I will "complete my PhD." I was completely happy doing the work that I was doing with a BA, but he did show me that my audience would be limited (not being able to teach those at a BA level or Masters level) and as a woman in Africa, my voice would be diminished without "proof" that I have something of value to offer, something validated by an academic institution. I am very thankful for Dr. Walker and his constant pushing...I mean support and encouragement. In all seriousness, he has been a cheerleader for me in the whole process. Thank you, Dr. Walker.
- My mom, Marrie Kranenburg - I talk to my mom every week and every week for the past seven years, she has asked me about my studies and what I was learning. She told me each week how proud she was of me and encouraged me to stay the course. Thank you, Mom!
- My husband, Michael - He gave up many evenings and weekends with me to allow me to study and read and write. He hasn't known me when I haven't been in school, so this should be a new experience for us! Whenever I needed information on topic or another, before I even finished my sentence Michael was suggesting books and before I knew it, he was putting a book on my desk. Thank you, Michael, for your support and patience!
- My children, Hannah and Noah - During these seven years, even though they've mostly been on their own, they still saw me as distracted and pretty constantly busy, as I worked fulltime the entire time that I was going through these programs. They supported me and encouraged me as well, and I thank them for their patience!
- Hopeline Institute in Ghana who allowed for two years of research to be done which gave a significant contribution to the quantitative research, as well as the many who were interviewed for the qualitative research.
One of my favorite quotes, from the many books I have read, comes from Abraham Kuyper, and it says this:
“Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind in the world of art and science, he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God; he is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.”
My professional goal is to help the ecclesia recognize this incredible opportunity, whether in Africa, with Discipling Marketplace Leaders, or wherever God may use me to serve.
To all of you who have faithfully read this blog and encouraged me on the way, thank you!