Our Team

  • Alison Miller, PhD, Dissertation Coach, Owner and Founder of “The Dissertation Coach”

    Alison Miller Owner The Dissertation CoachSince 2000, Alison Miller, PhD has been coaching graduate students to finish doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. She developed the strategic, structured approach that all of our coaches use to motivate and guide students to the finish line. Alison is the author of Finish Your Dissertation Once and For All: How to Overcome Psychological Barriers, Get Results, and Move On with Your Life, published in 2009 by the American Psychological Association. She frequently leads dissertation and thesis workshops and has extensive experience as a dissertation coach. She has worked with thousands of graduate students individually, in groups, and workshops over the last decade. Alison has a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University. She is also the owner of Life Essentials, a company that offers life coaching and corporate seminars and workshops and Tiara: Exceptional Women’s Coaching. For more information, visit: www.lifeessentialscoaching.com and www.tiaracoaching.com. Alison is a frequent contributor to Fox News in the Morning in Chicago and her work has been featured in many publications including Crain’s Business, The Chicago Tribune, WGN radio, and Time Out Magazine. Alison is passionate about coaching graduate students. Her clients benefit from her direct yet gentle approach that helps increase awareness of beliefs, emotions, and behaviors that interfere with their dissertation or thesis progress and learn ways to successfully move forward. Alison strives to create collaborative coaching relationships of safety and openness that help her clients overcome barriers and learn tangible skills that will benefit them beyond the experience of earning their graduate degree.

  • Colleen Halliday-Boykins, PhD – Managing Director, Dissertation Coach and Consultant

    Colleen Halliday The Dissertation CoachColleen holds a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles with a minor in measurement and statistics. Since completion of her degree, she has held a faculty appointment at the Medical University of South Carolina in a division devoted to real-world research with children, adolescents and their families She has an extensive background in empirical research, having authored several empirical articles in leading journals, including many first author pieces, having received federal funding to complete her own research, and having designed and implemented several other research projects of varying levels of complexity. She has also served on the editorial and as ad hoc reviewer for scientific journals. Colleen is proficient in quantitative data analysis, methodological rigor, research synthesis and academic writing. As a well-rounded researcher, she is able to consult with students regarding all aspects of the thesis and dissertation process, from identifying a topic, developing a problem statement, designing a methodology, writing literature reviews and proposals to analyzing the data, writing the method and result sections, synthesizing and interpreting the findings, and addressing committee feedback. Colleen has advised, mentored and consulted with students in a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, education, human services, social work, health administration and business administration. She has excellent mentoring skills and a passion for helping students achieve their academic and professional goals.

  • Jill Blackwell, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    Jill Blackwell The Dissertation CoachJill obtained her PhD in Experimental/Developmental Psychology from the Department of Psychology at DePaul University. She is currently serving as Visiting Associate Professor of Psychology at a local university in Chicago. She teaches research methods I, II, III, and has served as faculty advisor to numerous students who have completed their research projects. Her research interests span the fields of health psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and biological/social psychology. She has experience providing guidance from project inception, hypothesis development, selecting and developing appropriate research methods, and analyzing and interpreting data. She has served as peer review/editor, providing constructive advice, for numerous scientific journals. She is compassionate and positive and can provide problem solving assistance to any student.

     

     

  • Kristine L. Jones, M.P.H., PhD Dissertation Consultant

    IMG_0563Kristine Jones is an experienced qualitative field researcher and has written numerous technical reports, grant proposals, and articles in her academic discipline. As a faculty member at several universities, both in the U. S. and in Latin America, she directed numerous theses and dissertations with graduate students in history, public health, and the social sciences. She holds a PhD in Latin American and Native American History from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, has received NEH, SSRC and Fulbright grants for archival and ethnographic research in Argentina and Chile, and was a Fulbright Professor in History in Chile. As a consultant, she enjoys helping students narrow and clarify their research problem, structure arguments, identify optimal methodological approaches, prepare proposals for IRB approval, interpret and synthesize research findings, respond to committee concerns, and produce polished final drafts. She understands the importance of having a non-judgmental sounding board to help work through problems and analyze qualitative research results in the fundamentally creative process of completing an original research project.

  • Curt Preissner, PhD – Dissertation Coach

    Curt Preissner The Dissertation CoachCurt earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a mechanical engineer at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UIC. At Argonne, he uses his expertise to design innovative x-ray instrumentation. Curt has published many conference papers and journal articles and has presented at national and international conferences. He has experience with many types of research projects and has designed and conducted a variety of experiments. Having worked in research environments for over 10 years, including as a principal investigator on a federally funded grant, he thoroughly understands the processes of investigation, experimentation, and writing. Curt connects easily with students and is an empathetic listener. He has developed and facilitated a dissertation/thesis group for graduate students at ANL. He is dedicated to and inspired by coaching students in overcoming obstacles to complete their dissertations while at the same time creating opportunities for the students to develop new ways of being that will enable them to complete their graduate work and serve them in post-graduate life.

  • Stephanie Latkovski, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant

    Stephanie Latvosky The Dissertation Coach Stephanie Latkovski has a PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University. Currently an independent consultant and grant writer, Stephanie has extensive experience in foreign language education and study-abroad programs. As Associate Dean of the College at the University of Chicago, Stephanie recruited, trained and supervised graduate students as faculty assistants for study-abroad programs. Throughout her career, Stephanie has coached graduate students in humanities and social sciences through various phases of graduate school, from the application and grant-seeking phase to interviewing for tenure-track positions. She has helped graduate students identify and narrow research topics, clarify the scope of a project, and offer a sounding board for studies to be included in the review of literature. Stephanie has taught French and Spanish on the secondary level, as well as linguistics and writing on the university level. In 2006-2007, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English as a second language and modern American literature in Ukraine. Stephanie has studied several languages, traveled extensively, and has worked with many students from other countries who need advice navigating the American system. Stephanie also advises post-doctoral junior faculty needing support for tenure-track advancement.

  • Laura E. Plybon, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician

    Laura-Plybon-finalLaura received her PhD in experimental developmental psychology, with an emphasis in program evaluation, from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Having over fifteen years of research experience, she has worked in academia as an assistant professor, primary investigator, and director of assessment and in the non-profit world as a director of research and as an evaluation specialist. Currently, she is as an adjunct professor at colleges and universities in southwest Missouri and provides grant-writing consultation services for area non-profits and educational organizations. She is a co-author on a book on violence prevention, has published numerous research publications in peer-reviewed journals — the most recent with two of her former students as co-authors — and has conducted over 35 presentations at local, state, and national conferences. Her research interest are diverse and address topics in the fields of developmental, social, community, cultural, counseling, and educational psychology; behavioral health and health promotion; prevention program development and evaluation; psychometrics and survey development; and higher education assessment. A self-admitted statistics nerd, Laura has extensive statistical expertise and is highly knowledgeable of advanced statistical analyses, including ANCOVA/MANCOVA, exploratory- and confirmatory-factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and HLM. Laura greatly enjoys being a collaborative consultant with students and, in the words of one of her former students, is very patient and teaches each individual person in way that he/she learns best. She enjoys assisting students at any stage of the research process, but is especially skilled at helping students on literature reviews, methodology, and statistical analyses.

  • Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir, PhD – Dissertation Coach

    Rebecca Schwartz Bishir The Dissertation CoachRebecca Schwartz-Bishir has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of Michigan.  A specialist in the relationships of music and dance, over the past fourteen years she has taught classes in musicology, dance history, and ballet. In addition to working for five years at MUSA, the publishing branch of the American Musicological Society, she has been employed as a free-lance editor of music and scholarly texts.  As a professional academic writing coach, Dr. Schwartz-Bishir has worked with more than 1000 graduate students and professors in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences. By providing her clients with methods to get unstuck and become more productive in their writing and research, she has guided them to successful outcomes in their endeavors. Her coaching involves time and project management, overcoming perfectionism and other internal negative dialogues that slow down the writing process, and motivating people to work with realistic expectations and behaviors.  She considers academic writing an enriching process from which people can grow as thinkers and as individuals.

  • Kathryn Paterson, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant

    Kathryn Paterson The Dissertation CoachKathryn Paterson holds an M.A. in playwriting from the University of Cincinnati, and an MFA and PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. Dr. Paterson has worked with arts, humanities, and social science students for the past 16 years, teaching everything from developmental writing and reading to graduate level seminars in research.  She currently teaches at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she advises theses and mentors both undergraduate and graduate literature students.  Her students have won local, state and national prizes and have published in a wide variety of journals.  She has written plays, short fiction, and literary criticism, with research emphases in managing writing anxiety and in the application of mythic structures to the composition of lengthy projects.  As a coach, she enjoys helping students at various stages of the writing process, particularly those who are stuck in the phases of idea development and generation.  She helps students identify their writing blocks and figure out strategies to overcome them and manage the physiological aspects of writing anxiety.

  • Michal Lemberger, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant

    Michal Lemberger The Dissertation CoachMichal Lemberger holds a PhD in English from University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught at various local colleges and universities in Los Angeles in subjects ranging from composition to American and British Poetry and Bible as Literature and has acted as thesis advisor for students, guiding them though the process of formulating a topic, conducting appropriate research, setting goals, and producing a written product. As an editor, she has worked with graduate students and academics at various stages of their careers, providing feedback and assistance on everything from thesis proposals to articles or dissertation chapters to entire book manuscripts. She has experience working with scholars in the fields of literature, history, education, sociology, theology, philosophy, fine arts and art history, and law. Michal has developed a specialty in working with scholars for whom English is not a primary language. She can help guide students through the entire process of conceptualizing, writing, and editing a dissertation. Michal has a love of language and a thirst for knowledge. Compassionate and attentive, she relishes the opportunity to support students as they find their authentic voices and progress to completion in a timely manner.

  • Christopher Bradley, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician

    Christopher Bradley The Dissertation CoachChristopher began his career in higher education at Northern Arizona University where he earned a bachelors degree in sociology and a minor in social work. From there he went on to Bowling Green State University where he earned a masters degree and a PhD in sociology. At the doctoral level Christopher specialized in social psychology and also obtained formal minors in statistics and both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Now a tenured professor at a large Midwestern university, to date Christopher has published nine peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals, authored eighteen applied research reports, accrued a quarter of a million dollars in research grant funding and coauthored a book on the connections between western social psychology and eastern Zen Buddhism. His current research interests are grounded in the social psychological domains of emotion, motivation, the self, religion and intimate relationship violence. He has expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Christopher’s warm and personable approach to helping clients is complemented by his rigorous attention to detail and his ability to provide logical and concise feedback in a timely fashion. Christopher enjoys helping his clients with all aspects of the dissertation process. He feels that it is his responsibility to provide clients with the tools, guidance and knowledge they need to successfully complete their dissertation.

  • Jeffry White, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician

    Jeffry White The Dissertation CoachJeffry L. White has a Ph.D. in quantitative research, evaluation and measurement from The Ohio State University with Master’s degrees in educational research and evaluation, public policy and management, and health services administration. Since earning his doctorate he has held faculty appointments at Ashland University (Ohio) and the University of Louisiana, Lafayette where his duties include mentoring and advising doctoral students in Educational Leadership and Foundations. He teaches courses in intermediate and advanced statistics, survey research design, program evaluation, and measurement and assessment. Dr. White is co-author of Needs Assessment: Analysis and Prioritization (Sage, 2010), and has an extensive background in quantitative methods. Dr. White has been the program evaluator on National Science Foundation initiatives designed to improve the graduation rates of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Dr. White is skilled in applied research methods, conceptualization and synthesis of the literature review, and survey design and is a prolific academic writer. As an author and scholar well-versed in quantitative methods, he consults with students regarding all aspects of the research process, including how to avoid the pitfalls and pratfalls of working with a thesis or dissertation committee. Because of his diverse background, Dr. White has mentored and advised students in education, public policy, criminal justice, human services, business, and health care administration. His philosophy in working with students is to help them obtain a better understanding of the research process in order to conceptualize, design, and carry out a study that permits them to achieve their academic goals.

  • Melinda Valente, EdD – Dissertation Coach

    Melinda Valente The Dissertation CoachMelinda earned her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. She also holds an M.A. and a B.A. from Emerson College, where she gained experience in the areas of mass communication, media management, and television production. After working in the entertainment industry for a few years she decided to return to her true passion, academia. For the past ten years Melinda has worked at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, CA. In her current role as Associate Director in the Office of Admissions, Student Information and Services, Melinda helps guide prospective students through the admissions process in addition to counseling current law students on academic policies, degree requirements, and other concerns. Melinda has a great deal of compassion for the ups and downs on the doctoral journey and is committed to helping students more effectively manage the dissertation process and overcome the internal and external challenges they face. She truly enjoys helping students accomplish this significant milestone in their academic careers.

  • Valentina Kloosterman, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant

    Valentine Kloosterman The Dissertation Coach

    Valentina holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut and a MA degree in Psychology from University of Belgrano in Argentina. She is an Educational Psychologist and currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Psychology and Early Childhood Education at two universities, where she also serves as a Dissertation Chair and Methodologist for doctoral students. Over the past twenty years, Valentina has been teaching and researching in education with a particular emphasis on issues of child development, intelligence, and cultural diversity. Valentina has expertise in qualitative research and program evaluation and for the past decade, she has co-directed the design and implementation of research-evaluation projects, as well as provided guidance and mentoring to undergraduate and graduate students both in the United States and Latin America. In addition, Valentina has served as editorial reviewer and managing editor, advisor, presenter, and committee leader for national and international associations, and has written extensively in English and Spanish in her areas of expertise. One of Valentina’s most gratifying professional experiences is working one-on-one with students in the process of research, including literature review, data collection and analysis, and writing of findings and implications. She also encourages and guides students in the submission of conference proposals, academic presentations, and writing of publications.

  • Harold K. “Harry” McGinnis, PhD- Dissertation Consultant

    Dr. McGinnis earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University, in Public Administration and Research Methods in 1982, and a Master’s degree, in Applied Statistics with a minor in Oceanography, and undergraduate degree, in Applied Mathematics and Economics, both earned from Florida Institute of Technology.  Dr. McGinnis taught applied mathematics at Florida Tech, mathematics and science at Tallahassee Community College, graduate public administration, research, and business management science at Florida State, and graduate math education at Nova Southeastern University.  For 13 years, he held the position of Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Burruss Institute, a public service research “think tank” at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta.  Recently, he served as a Full Professor at Argosy University-Atlanta teaching content courses in higher education and research and quantitative methods, including SPSS.  At Argosy University, he served as the Vice-Chair of the IRB and a member of the Campus Research Board. He is a charter member of the American Evaluation Association, serves on the Board for the International Journal of Higher Ed Teaching and Learning and peer reviews for the International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership and the Journal of Public Affairs Education.

  • Ani C. Moughamian, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    Ani MoughamianAni received her PhD in Educational Psychology from UCLA. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between oral narrative ability, language skills, and literacy outcomes in Armenian American English learner students in fourth through sixth grade. She is currently a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California where she teaches research methods courses to students pursuing their master’s degrees in a variety of programs including TESOL, special education, counseling, school psychology, early childhood, and educational/teacher leadership. In this capacity, Ani provides students with structured guidance through the research process, including developing research questions, writing a literature review, developing research methodology, conducting data analysis (both quantitative and qualitative), and writing up results and conclusions. Ani also works closely with students as they work on applications for the Institutional Review Board and is a thesis chair for several students. She has significant research experiences in the field of education and has worked on a number of projects focused primarily on English learner students’ language and literacy development. Ani truly enjoys working with graduate students and finds great satisfaction in supporting students through the research process. She is compassionate, straightforward, optimistic and passionate about helping individuals succeed in all they wish to accomplish.

  • Carrie Petrucci, MSW, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    carrie finalDr. Petrucci earned her Ph.D. from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) in Social Welfare in 2002 and her MSW, also from UCLA, in 1993. Her professional experience encompasses practice, teaching, and research. A major emphasis in her work has been evaluating interdisciplinary collaborative multi-agency environments in social welfare and criminal justice settings. She is currently a Senior Research Associate at EMT Associates Inc., an evaluation firm in California where she has carried out both large and small evaluation projects for non-profits and government agencies.  Dr. Petrucci has taught courses in program development including development of logic models and how to measure outcomes. She has also taught research methods and thesis courses at the graduate level. Her research skills include using mixed methods at the data collection and analysis phases; qualitative methods such as ethnography, observation, and open-ended interviewing; and quantitative methods including standardized assessments, and analysis of existing data. She has carried out implementation, fidelity, and outcome evaluation projects, and has worked extensively evaluating evidence based practices. She is experienced using multiple software packages including NVivo, Stata, SPSS/PAWS, and the Concept Systems software package for concept mapping. She enjoys working with students from all professional disciplines, assisting them to bring their valuable expertise into a successful dissertation experience.

  • Rebecca Rohloff, PhD – Dissertation Coach

    Rebecca-Rohloff-finalRebecca Rohloff holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a PhD in German from the University of California, Irvine. She has taught writing, Humanities, and German literature, language and culture since 2007, helping students successfully complete projects with subjects ranging from the first “book” in recorded history (The Epic of Gilgamesh) to contemporary depictions of gender and sexuality in social media. For her coaching clients, Rebecca specializes in creating a high-energy, safe, nurturing environment that makes dissertation writing and revising fun—for her, the primary goal is to help coaching clients look forward to and enjoy the dissertation process, either again or for the first time. For her consulting clients, Rebecca specializes in creating a strategic approach that can originate from any point in the dissertation process (from proposal to final revision) that maximizes both the dissertation’s potential to be completed in a timely manner, and the dissertation’s viability and impact in its discipline. Rebecca particularly enjoys working with interdisciplinary scholars who bridge humanities and non-humanities fields, scholars specializing in LGBT studies or LGBT issues, humanities scholars preparing for crossover or “Alt-Academic” careers, scholars who “don’t consider themselves writers,” and those who are writing in their non-native language. Rebecca can coach in both English and German.

  • Kathy Stansbury, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    Kathy-Stansbury-finalKathy Stansbury holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, with special training in quantitative and statistical methodology and experimental child psychopathology from UCLA. She completed post-doctoral training at the University of Minnesota in developmental psychobiology. Kathy has worked as an Assistant and Associate Professor for more than 20 years, has obtained federal grant funding, and published more than 15 peer-reviewed research papers. As a professor, Dr. Stansbury has mentored many undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students through the completion of their research projects, and several of her Ph.D. students now hold academic positions as professors themselves. Dr. Stansbury’s experience includes teaching courses in research methods and statistical analysis, and she can be particularly helpful to students who are seeking to understand the strengths and limitations of particularly methodological designs, and in choosing the correct statistical test to answer particular research questions or test a specific hypothesis. She can also provide statistical analysis services using SPSS. She has extensive experience with the incorporation of qualitative coding systems into experimental or quasi-experimental studies, and has conducted many studies on the emotional and behavioral interactions between mothers and their children, including the evaluation of psychophysiological variables. Dr. Stansbury has assisted students in psychology, education, business, kinesiology, counseling, family studies, biology, and child development in completing their doctoral degrees, and particularly enjoys assisting students in sharpening their writing skills, constructing strong hypotheses, and developing research designs. She approaches her work with dissertation clients as a relationship between mentor and apprentice and feels the development of a positive working relationship between the client and consultant is the basis for progress and high quality outcomes.

     

  • Elline Lipkin, PhD – Dissertation Coach

    EllineLipkin-finalElline Lipkin received her PhD in Creative Writing/Literature from the University of Houston, her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, and her BA in English from Wesleyan University. She was a Postdoc with the Beatrice Bain Research Group on Gender at UC Berkeley for two years and is currently a Research Scholar with UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women.  She was a Visiting Assistant Professor in English at Prairie View A & M University and has taught Comparative Literature, Gender Studies and Composition at UC Berkeley. Her academic research has focused on creative writing, contemporary literature, and gender studies and her two books, The Errant Thread and Girls’ Studies, reflect these interests.  Prior to her life in academe, Elline worked as a copyeditor for a variety of newspapers and magazines and in traditional book publishing in New York.  She specializes in helping reluctant writers break through their blocks and find passion for their subjects.  Elline enjoys creating positive relationships with her coaching clients so that they can effectively move towards their goals and earn their graduate degrees.

  • Rowena A. Robles, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    Rowena-Robles-finalRowena has Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Economics; a Master’s of Education in Education Policy, Organization, and Management; and a PhD in Ethnic Studies—all awarded from the University of California, Berkeley.  She has taught at the university level for over a decade and has worked with thousands of students on research papers with topics ranging from race- and class-based analyses of academic achievement; education policy implementation; urban politics; to immigrant political integration. Rowena is a published author and an expert in sociological theoretical frameworks that focus on race, class, and gender; education; immigration; and politics; and has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research design and data collection.  Her doctoral degree is inter-disciplinary so she is also able to pull from and utilize various disciplines to assist and advise clients in their research and writing.  She enjoys and derives great satisfaction from working with students to develop strong hypotheses, construct research and fieldwork methodologies and plans, and assist in the overall organization of theses and dissertations.  Rowena is committed to assisting students get over blocks and barriers to their research and writing processes and is most happy and feels most successful when her clients feel confident and are close to completion of their projects.

  • Kathleen Bodisch Lynch, PhD – Dissertation Consultant

    KBLKathleen holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University and a PhD in Educational Research and Evaluation from the University of Virginia, where she won the Curry School of Education Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. As a professional program evaluator and applied social science researcher, Kathleen has extensive experience designing and conducting studies in real-world settings within the context of a university environment. She is thus particularly attuned to the challenges that graduate students face in carrying out their research projects, and is resourceful in helping them resolve problems and ultimately succeed. Kathleen has served as the lead evaluator for a wide variety of programs, primarily in the fields of disabilities, education, prevention, and health. Among her colleagues and students, Kathleen is known for her ability to translate statistics and research concepts into “plain English;” her thorough, constructive, yet gentle feedback on pieces of writing; and her patient, individualized, and supportive approach to teaching and mentoring. She also has skills in instrument development, qualitative and quantitative methods, and graphical presentation of data. Kathleen has multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals, numerous presentations at local, state, and national conferences, and was one of the first to receive the Marcia Guttentag Fellowship for Most Promising Young Evaluator from the American Evaluation Association. She currently serves as a reviewer for an international, interdisciplinary journal that provides a forum to enhance health care and advance qualitative research in health-care settings. Kathleen looks forward to helping each student who works with her achieve his or her academic goals with confidence.