Theresa Felderman, Ph.D, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bismarck State College in North Dakota, knew that the only way she could accomplish her 15-year dream of earning a doctoral degree was to do it online.
“As a wife (husband Alex) and mother (to two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth (9) and Sophia (6)), I knew I couldn’t uproot my family. NCU allowed me to complete my doctorate without having to do that.”
With experience in teaching courses online, the online format didn’t faze Felderman, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences at University of Mary in North Dakota, and her Master of Science in Applied Psychology at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where she graduated with honors. However, her experience did mean she had high expectations for NCU. She wasn’t disappointed.
“My experience at NCU was exceptional. I was very impressed with the faculty/mentors available in the psychology program, and had excellent mentors for all my courses. I feel that the coursework was arduous, but with my mentors’ timely feedback and support, I was able to successfully work through the program.”
Felderman believes the education she received at NCU—she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in General Psychology—and the research she completed for her dissertation will be a catalyst to becoming a better professor, mentor and advisor to her own students.
“My students were actually the inspiration for my dissertation. I wanted to improve the academic performance and success of my students in the classroom using inter-teaching methodologies and drawing from my background in behavior analysis,” she explains. “The highlight was being able to apply what I learned as I was learning it. To watch my students have that ‘Aha!’ moment and realize that the techniques I was applying in my classroom were improving their learning and performance was great to see.”
But the journey to accomplishing her goal wasn’t all flowers and sunshine, and it always helped to know she wasn’t alone.
“Having a support system is key,” explains Felderman. “The biggest challenges I faced during my time at NCU was managing a full-time job, keeping up with familial responsibilities, and still finding time and motivation to complete the requirements for my coursework. I overcame these challenges through the support of my family first, as well as my coworkers and NCU mentors. They were all very supportive and allowed me to work on my coursework when I needed to.”
So what is Dr. Felderman’s motivation? “My daughters,” she answers without hesitation. “They are the light of my life and my inspiration. I’m really excited that they had the chance to see their mother accomplish a goal that she has had for over 15 years. I hope they remember that day for the rest of their lives and always know that their dreams are attainable.”
As for those who are still in the midst of their education journey, Dr. Felderman can only say…Keep on, keepin’ on!
“I realize it is hard to believe that you could learn anything from the movie Joe Dirt,” she laughs, “But he was exactly right. If you wish to accomplish your goals you have to keep on, keepin’ on. You have to be and stay motivated.”