Alison Miller, PhD – Owner and Founder of “The Dissertation Coach”
In May 2000, Alison Miller, PhD, founded The Dissertation Coach as she recognized that many graduate students were struggling to successfully finish master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. She believes that many students can benefit from support and guidance to manage the psychological, time management, and technical challenges that arise in graduate school. She is optimistic that all students can successfully finish graduate school if they are willing to work hard and have the right support. 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 enjoys leading dissertation workshops at universities around the United States and is committed to the success of graduate students around the world. 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 a co-founder Tiara International, a company committed to women’s leadership development.
Ray Meek – Owner and CFO
Ray Meek, has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Tennessee. He practiced for 25 years working with internationally recognized award winning architectural firms domestically and abroad. His focus throughout his career was on the technical performance and project management aspect of his firm’s specialty of mixed-use commercial high-rise projects. In 2008, Ray joined The Dissertation Coach full time as the CFO to oversee the development and management of the company’s contractual and financial operations. Ray brings his skills in project management and oversight to The Dissertation Coach and is responsible for the well-developed financial system the company uses to run a sound business. Ray is highly committed to sound financial management of The Dissertation Coach organization so that our coaching and consulting team can focus their energy on serving our clients and helping them succeed.
Nikki Alioto, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Nikki earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1999, focusing on attitude and behavior change. She has spent the majority of her career working in education to help K12 schools and colleges/universities use data to drive strategic planning and improve student outcomes. Other content interests include health promotion, market research and economic development. Her areas of expertise include survey research (including factor analysis and text analytics), psychometrics, program evaluation, and predictive analytics. Nikki has taught statistics, psychology, and data mining over the past 25 years and is currently Adjunct Faculty at John Hopkins University in the Government Analytics graduate program. She also is certified in SPSS Statistics and Modeler solutions. She enjoys helping students explore statistical techniques and uncover new insights, but mostly, she loves to see students successfully complete and share their research!
Christopher Bradley, PhD – Dissertation Consultant, Statistician, and Faculty Coach
Christopher 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. Christopher is now a professor at Troy 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. As a statistician, Christopher is an expert in both parametric and non-parametric statistical techniques, including all univariate descriptive statistical techniques, and a wide range of bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques. At The Dissertation Coach Christopher is deeply committed to providing excellent service to all of his clients as he assists them with any aspect of the dissertation from topic selection to the final defense. 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.
Aaron Brown, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Aaron Brown earned a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Tennessee, focusing on the implementation of evidence based treatments for addictions. Aaron also earned his MSW degree from the University of Tennessee in 2010. Aaron has over a decade of experience working in community mental health in a variety of roles including residential tech, case manager, outpatient therapist, and clinical supervisor. Aaron is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. To date, Aaron has published fourteen peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences. While earning his PhD in Social Work, Aaron earned a minor in statistics. Aaron has experience teaching statistics and using a variety of statistical methods in his research including general linear models, generalized linear models, multi-level modeling, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and latent growth modeling. Aaron prides himself in being patient, accessible, and responsive when working with clients. Aaron enjoys helping others implement analytic methods to accomplish their research goals. Aaron is passionate about helping others achieve their educational goals by supporting them through their dissertation process in whatever way is most helpful whether it be developing research questions, identifying quality measures, determining which methods will work best, or discerning how best to integrate feedback from committee members.
Rhonda E. Baylor, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Rhonda Erica Baylor holds a PhD. in Educational Psychology from Howard University. In addition, she earned an Ed.M. in Higher Education from Harvard University, an M.B.A. from the University of Baltimore, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University. Dr. Baylor has over 15 years of higher education teaching and education research experience. Dr. Baylor’s research focuses on teaching and learning. Furthermore, she has several publications and book chapters. Also, she has presented at various conferences throughout the nation. Dr. Baylor conducts quantitative research, qualitative research, and mixed-methods research that contributes to the education paradigm. Even more specifically, she has experience with survey design and program evaluation. She has taught statistics and research methodology to undergraduate students, as well as to graduate students. She has successfully assisted many students through the dissertation process. She has also conducted education research and engaged in data analysis for many clients on the local level, state level, and at the federal level. Dr. Baylor has also served as an editorial board member and reviewer for education journals. Lastly, she is an international scholar who has visited schools and dispensed learning supplies in Haiti.
Connie Y. Chang, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Connie earned a PhD is Higher Education and Organizational Change from University of California, Los Angeles. She also has a M.S.Ed in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Human Development from University of California, San Diego. Her areas of interest include race and racial identity, multicultural education, campus racial climate, race conscious admissions, and education policy. Connie has worked in higher education for over a decade in various roles such as student affairs, multicultural affairs, a research analyst, and adjunct professor. She has experience teaching in Asian American Studies and Higher Education, publishing in top tier journals such as Educational Research and The Review of Higher Education, and conducting both qualitative and quantitative research projects. Connie is passionate about supporting others through their dissertation journey and enjoys providing support in any way big or small – from technical things such as research design, problem statements, research questions, data analysis to the motivation side of things such as goal setting, productive writing sessions, and encouragement.
Meena Clowes, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Meena Clowes, PhD consults with researchers in the fields of Business, Organizational Studies, Public Administration, Education and Psychology. Meena started off her educational journey with Bachelors degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics. She went on to do her Masters in Technology Management. After working in private industry for about 15 years, she came back to do her PhD in Public Administration and teach because helping students succeed is truly her calling. She has considerable expertise in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies. She has taught and worked extensively with multivariate statistical techniques such as various forms of regression, analyses of variance/covariance, conjoint analysis and structural equation modeling. She also has expertise in survey methodology, case studies, ethnography and phenomenology. She has been teaching for about 25 years in total, and chairing and acting as methodologist on theses and dissertation committees for over a decade. She is committed to working with all her clients with the same level of caring, diligence and support for every aspect of the dissertation process that she has always shown her students. At heart, Meena is an educator and she feels most successful when her clients are successful. She believes that education is the most important personal journey anyone can undertake — and she would be privileged and honored to be part of yours.
Chris Deason, EdD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Chris received his Doctorate in Educational Instructional Technology from Texas Tech University in June 2008. His area of focus was Technology-Mediated Culturally Relevant After-School Programs. Chris has a passion for promoting cultural diversity in classroom environments and developing culturally relevant pedagogy. Chris’ eleven years of K-12 classroom teaching experience led to his triangulated mixed methods dissertation, which examined and explored the combined use of hip-hop pedagogy and digital audio workstations to impact reading motivation for 4th and 5th graders. Following his dissertation defense, he exited K-12 education and entered higher education at Full Sail University where he continues to teach in their online Instructional Design and Technology Master of Science Degree. Alongside his teaching duties at Full Sail University, Chris has spent the last 6 years coaching and consulting with dissertation writers at Academic Coaching and Writing, LLC. During this time, he earned his Certified Co-Active Professional Coach (CCPC) license in 2017 at the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI). CTI is one of most respected coaching programs in the United States. He has expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research designs. As an educational psychologist, he is an expert in a variety of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to data collection and analysis. Chris is an active scholar. He has published peer reviewed articles and book chapters within the field of instructional technology and women’s leadership. Chris maintains membership in several professional organizations including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE), and the Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA). At The Dissertation Coach. Chris is deeply committed to providing outstanding support to all of his clients. He has a passion for teaching the systematic processes involved with dissertation writing including narrowing a topic, logical alignment of the study, synthesizing literature, reporting results, and discussing the results relative to extant research findings. Chris feels the dissertation process is personal journey to experience rather than a product to attain.
Kari George, PhD – Dissertation Consultant & Statistician
Kari George earned a PhD in Higher Education and Organization from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education in Student Affairs from Salem State University and a B.A. in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Kari has over a decade of experience in higher education, technology project management, and business consulting. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow, studying efforts to broaden participation in computing disciplines. Kari’s research agenda focuses on doctoral student experiences and outcomes, faculty mentoring and advising practices, and organizational change efforts in computing. She enjoys helping students clarify their ideas and research design, providing statistical and analytic support, offering feedback for clarity, structure, and organization, and navigating relationships with committee members. Informed by her dissertation work that examined why doctoral students think about leaving their programs, Kari strives to support students’ needs by understanding their goals, identifying pitfalls, and devising strategies and structures to advance their progress toward the degree. She is passionate about supporting the whole student and helping them navigate and celebrate the highs and lows of the doctoral journey.
Angela Glymph, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Angela Glymph earned her PhD (and MS) in Social Psychology from Howard University in 2008 focusing on juror bias and procedural fairness. She has about 10 years of combined experience in the fields of program evaluation, psychological, public health and educational research, large-scale assessments, statistics, and psychometrics. Her areas of expertise include quantitative statistical analyses, survey research design and methods, and psychometrics. Angela has taught undergraduate and graduate-level statistics, psychometrics, and research methods courses at various universities in the greater Washington, DC area and is currently Adjunct Faculty at Howard University. She enjoys teaching and communicating highly technical information to non-technical audiences. Angela is published, and frequently asked to make presentations and sit on professional panels in the public health and education conferences. She has two textbooks she co-authored that are currently in use in college-level courses. Angela’s passion for teaching and learning is evident in the deep investments she makes in helping students confidently and skillfully engage in research.
Kevin Hylton, PhD – Dissertation Consultant
Kevin Hylton has a PhD in Sociology from Howard University, a MA in Higher Education Administration and over two decades of experience serving as a research scientist, evaluator, technical advisor and policy advisor to Federal, State and local governments and non-profit organizations. Most of his research has focused on understanding and improving health disparities and educational inequities among underserved, minority populations. Currently, he serves as program evaluator to small research companies and non-profit organizations. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at colleges and universities in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area where he teaches behavioral and social science courses. Having co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, he has also presented papers at professional meetings and conferences. Kevin is well-versed in conducting small and large-scale mix-method studies and also has provided support and advising on both qualitative and quantitative studies. His content expertise includes substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, issues in healthcare, diversity and race/ethnic relations, domestic violence and educational outcomes. Kevin is passionate about helping graduate students navigate the challenges and obstacles of pursuing a graduate degree and writing their dissertation. He firmly believes that there is solution to every challenge and obstacle that a student encounters in their pursuit of their graduate degree.
Alyssa Infantino, PhD – Dissertation and Faculty Coach
Alyssa earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Griffith University in Australia. She holds an Honors degree in Psychology from The University of Queensland and a B.A from The State University of Geneseo, New York, where she gained experienced in the areas of psychology, human relations and communication. She currently works as a Clinical Psychologist, as well as applying her research skills to assist students in academia. Alyssa offers international experience having studied and worked in USA, Australia and now in The Netherlands. She has a lot of empathy for students who have a challenging relationship with their dissertation. Due to her experience in psychology, she offers strategies and tools to break down barriers, manage writing anxiety and set constructive, realistic goals. Alyssa is really inspired to assist students in building positivity and excitement about this academic chapter and empower them to complete their ambitions and earn their degree with the least amount of resistance as possible.
Aubrey Jones, PhD – Statistician and Dissertation Consultant
Aubrey Jones earned a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Tennessee, focusing on access to healthcare among postpartum women. Aubrey earned her MSW degree from Florida State University in 2015. Her professional experience as a social worker includes working with survivors of sexual trauma, crisis intervention with suicidal and homicidal youth, and medical social work. To date, Aubrey has published thirteen peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences. In addition to univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistics Aubrey has experience with multilevel modeling, survival analysis, and structural equation modeling. Aubrey is committed to providing exceptional support to all of her clients in a timely fashion. She is passionate about mentoring students through the dissertation process from start to finish. Aubrey is committed to creating a supportive relationship with clients to help students overcome barriers and reach their goals.
Kristine L. Jones, M.P.H., PhD Dissertation Consultant
Kristine 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.
Michal Lemberger, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant
Michal 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.
Darnise Martin, PhD – Dissertation Coach
Darnise Martin holds a PhD in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Darnise is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she teaches courses in Religion and History. Since 2005, she has taught and mentored hundreds of students, and worked specifically with students on special research projects. Darnise has several publications including her dissertation, a co-edited volume and various articles in anthologies and encyclopedias. Darnise enjoys helping students feel excited about their work, and empowered to complete their research and writing goals. She is inspired to support doctoral students through the critically and uniquely important dissertation process. She is committed to assisting students overcome blocks and general resistance that otherwise hinder their progress
Harold K. “Harry” McGinnis, Ph.D.-Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Dr. McGinnis earned his Ph.D., at Florida State University, in Public Administration/ Research Methods in 1982 with minors in Oceanography/Environmental Policy, and a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics/minor in Oceanography, and undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics/minor in Economics, both earned from Florida Institute of Technology. Harry taught applied mathematics at Florida Tech, mathematics and oceanography at Tallahassee Community College, and graduate public administration at Florida State. For 13 years, he held the position of Professor and Founding Director of the Burruss Institute of Public Service, research “think tank” at Kennesaw State University. From 2007-2012, he served as a Full Professor at Argosy University-Atlanta teaching content courses in higher education and research/quantitative methods/SPSS. Currently, he teaches at Liberty University in the graduate school of public administration/public policy and biostatistics. Dr. McGinnis has chaired over 35 doctoral committees and served as quantitative methodologist on nearly 70 committees at various universities. He has worked with students in a wide range of academic fields. Harry is known for being a kind and supportive mentor who enjoys supporting students through the dissertation process in a step-by-step manner.
Jim McGinley, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Jim McGinley, PhD earned his PhD in Quantitative Psychology with a minor in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). He has obtained funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. His research has been published in varied journals focused on psychology, substance use, and statistics. He is dedicated to effectively disseminating knowledge to wide-ranging audiences and his efforts in these areas (e.g., research presentations and teaching) have earned multiple awards. Jim takes great pride in his ability to bridge the gap between quantitative methods and applied research. In doing so, he helps his clients identify and implement the best analytical solutions for rigorously evaluating research hypotheses. Most importantly, Jim’s core objective is to help each student reach their academic goals in a timely manner while minimizing stress, frustration, and anxiety. He has also been known to do the impossible – make statistics fun!
Ani C. Moughamian, PhD – Dissertation Consultant
Ani received her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. 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 an Adjunct Associate Professor 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 and doctoral 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 also serves as a thesis/dissertation chair. 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.
Kathryn Peterson, PhD – Dissertation Coach, Faculty Coach, and Consultant
Kathryn Peterson 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. Peterson 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.
Rowena A. Robles, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Rowena 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 allowing her 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 overcome blocks and barriers to their research and writing processes so they can successfully finish graduate school.
Deirdre Rogers, PhD – Dissertation Consultant, Statistician, and Faculty Coach
Deirdre Rogers, PhD, received her Associates Degree in Psychology and a minor in Native America studies from De Anza College, her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Jose State University, in Psychology and Sociology, and her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University, in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and minors in Women’s Studies and Social Psychology. Has held appointments as a tenured professor and department chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice as well as directed the Center for the Enhancement for Teaching and learning. Currently she is working full time at The Dissertation Coach as well as taking classes at Cal Poly in GIS and Environmental management to expand her know base. Her areas of interest include criminal justice, social inequalities, environmental justice, and social construction of difference, but she is a generalist has worked with clients from Sociology to Nursing to Technology. She is well versed in both qualitative and quantitative techniques, having published research using both types of methodologies. She has worked as a grant evaluator and co-authored large, community and direct services grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. She has worked with undergraduate and graduate students for over 15 years. She has mentored honors thesis and graduate thesis in a wide variety of topics, helping students to complete their projects in a timely manner. Dr. Rogers understands the ups and downs of academic writing and research and knows that individuals can overcome obstacles and successfully complete their work with the right support and guidance.
Rebecca Schuman, PhD – Dissertation Coach
Rebecca received her PhD in German from the University of California-Irvine in 2010, and spent four years as a visiting professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Ohio State University before leaving to become a coach and journalist. In her coaching practice, she has helped dozens of clients achieve their goals and feel empowered and in control of their lives. Rebecca’s sharp, incisive coverage of the American higher education landscape in Slate, the Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education and other outlets has, since her debut in 2013, been a leading voice in the conversation about academic labor, challenges to PhD completion, and other pressing issues in the field. She is the author of two books, Kafka and Wittgenstein (Northwestern University Press, 2015), based on her doctoral dissertation, and Schadenfreude, A Love Story (Flatiron/Macmillan, 2017), a comic memoir that details her misadventures with German literature and academia. As an experienced “committee whisperer,” Rebecca specializes in helping graduate students who have challenging relationships with the academy, whether that be adviser issues or general anxiety, and enjoys providing an array of dynamic support services with her coaching clients, including creating empowering work plans that really work, and navigating “tough-conversation” emails with mentors. She is particularly interested in working with humanities and social science dissertations, and those that specialize in women’s and gender studies and LGBTQ issues.
Melissa Schwartz, PhD – Dissertation Coach
Dr. Melissa R. Schwartz believes intellectual pursuits are vital and exciting to the human journey! Having taught hundreds of university students the intricacies of ethics, critical analysis, and writing processes, she knows firsthand the power of support in the face of unexpected academic and personal struggles. Melissa has refined a teaching/learning strategy that applies to all capacities of academic coaching: the nurturing of individual strengths in the face of such struggles, large or small. As an interdisciplinary scholar striving for depth and expertise, her open and fluid approach to obstacles begins with conscious listening and working to understand each student’s concerns with writing toward their goals. She feels strongly that a deeply compassionate approach to the human condition releases inhibitions and enlivens the mind, and she applies this philosophy to helping others find their unique voice. Melissa holds an interdisciplinary PhD called, ASPECT (Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, Cultural Thought), from Virginia Tech, an MA in Applied Ethics/Practical Philosophy from the University of North Florida, a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa, a Florida attorney’s license, a 250-hour Yoga certification, and an unquenchable curiosity.
Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir, PhD – Dissertation and Faculty Coach
Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir has an MA and a PhD 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.
Michael Sikes, PhD – Dissertation Consultant
Michael began his educational research career at the University of South Florida, where his graduate training led to a full-time position at a campus research institute. He went on to earn his PhD in education and a Certificate in Program Evaluation at Florida State University. After a decade of supervising and conducting research in a variety of government agencies, nonprofits, and academia, Michael launched a successful independent consulting practice, with a concentration in program evaluation. He has taught and supervised graduate student research at Antioch University, taught evaluation at Florida State, and designed and delivered hundreds of workshops on research design, evaluation, assessment, survey development, data analysis, and reporting. A devoted writer whose bachelors degree was in English, Michael has authored or co-authored three published books and numerous articles. Michael believes that the thesis or dissertation can be one of the most fulfilling and extraordinary journeys a person can take. He understands that for each individual, the journey will progress along its own path and often at its own pace. He is dedicated to helping each student find his or her own way toward completion of the journey.
Dean Spaulding, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Dean T. Spaulding earned a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany/SUNY where he focused his work in educational psychology and statistics. He served as an associate faculty member for 20 years, teaching graduate level research, statistics, and program evaluation courses. He is a coauthor of five books including Educational Research: From Theory to Practice (Wiley, 2010), used by hundreds of dissertation candidates around the world. According to Google Scholar the book has been cited in over 3,000 peer-reviewed journals, dissertations and master’s thesis. Dean has extensive expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research design, instrument development, assessment validation, and working with large school databases. In addition to statistical expertise, he also enjoys working with students to develop research questions and frameworks to guide their potential studies. Dean also has two decades of grant writing and program evaluation experience and has served as the external evaluator on grants for the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Education Department (USD+ED), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Calder Foundation, and numerous K-12 school districts and institutions of higher education. He enjoys working with clients at all stages of the dissertation process and is passionate about helping others reach their full potential. Dean prides himself at being able to work with a wide range of learners and provide clients with individual learning strategies, targeted specifically to move clients through the dissertation pathway. Dean believes that the dissertation is one of the most exciting experiences one will encounter, and while the process may be challenging, it also brings about great reward and a true sense of accomplishment that last a lifetime.
Kathy Stansbury, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statisitican
Kathy Stansbury holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology, with special training in quantitative and statistical methodology and child psychopathology from UCLA. Kathy has worked as college professor for more than 20 years, and has published more than 15 peer-reviewed research papers. As a professor, Dr. Stansbury mentored many honors, masters, and doctoral students through the completion of their research projects, and worked with fellow professors and advanced students to publish research articles. Dr. Stansbury’s specialties include research methods and statistical analysis, and in explaining the strengths and limitations of the range of research designs, and is passionate about teaching clients how to design good tests of their hypotheses, and supporting them in doing so. Choosing the correct statistical test to answer a research question is often a key concern for doctoral students, and this is something that is important to Dr. Stansbury. Based on the needs of each client, she can provide statistical analysis services and tutorials in SPSS, and will provide annotations of output, explanations of results, and support in developing the presentation of the results in a thesis format so that the client can produce high quality methodology, results, and discussion sections. Dr. Stansbury has assisted students in many research fields including psychology, education, business, kinesiology, counseling, family studies, biology, and child development. She also finds it gratifying to assist students in sharpening their writing and critical thinking skills, in constructing strong hypotheses, and in structuring literature reviews. She likes to think of herself as a committed part of the client’s team, and believes that strong communication and a positive working relationship between client and consultant is the basis for steady progress and high quality outcomes.
Kate Vacek, PhD – Dissertation Coach and Consultant
Kate Vacek earned her PhD in English Composition & TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research on doctoral writers and on early career academics has been published in Studies in Continuing Education and Academic Labor: Research and Artistry. Kate loves introducing students to qualitative research and helping them gain confidence in qualitative data collection and analysis. She has taught qualitative research methods and action research and supervised M.Ed. scholarly projects and independent studies. For undergraduates, Kate has taught first year composition and an interdisciplinary capstone writing course. Kate’s skills as a writing coach were honed in a university writing center, where she coached students and faculty writers in all disciplines and at any stage of the writing process. She also led writing development workshops across campus and facilitated interdisciplinary faculty writing groups. Endlessly curious, Kate enjoys working with writers from any discipline. Through her research and practical experience, Kate has a deep understanding of how every writer brings unique linguistic, cultural, and academic experiences–along with a host of other roles and responsibilities–to the task of writing. She supports students as they seek balance, creating a space for productive writing and the transformation from student to scholar.
Melinda Valente, EdD – Dissertation Coach
Dr. Melinda Valente 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 while overcoming the internal and external challenges they face. She truly enjoys helping students accomplish this significant milestone in their academic careers. Melinda has spent the majority of her career in higher education administration, working in admissions and student services for over 16 years. A little over a decade was spent at Pepperdine University School of Law. She currently works in alumni relations for her alma mater, Emerson College, where she uses her skills, knowledge and experience to help strengthen the college’s alumni community. Melinda earned her Education Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. She also holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s from Emerson College, where she gained experience in the areas of mass communication, media management, and television production.
Jared Vineyard, PhD – Dissertation Consultant and Statistician
Jared Vineyard earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Idaho State University in 2016. He received broad training in experimental design and quantitative analysis, using social and personality psychology to understand judgment, decision-making, and risk-taking behavior. Before earning a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, Jared worked in substance abuse treatment for 11 years. He was the director of treatment for eight years at a residential treatment facility that provided free care for underserved or disadvantaged populations. As a practitioner or researcher, he has over 23 years of experience working in the healthcare field. To date, he has published over 21 peer-reviewed articles and presented at both national and international research conferences. He has extensive experience in creating and using the principles of psychometrics to evaluate survey instruments measuring behavior across a range of topics. His current research interests include using social cognitive theory to investigate judgment and decision-making by practitioners and consumers within the healthcare field. As an instructor or researcher, Jared has significant experience with both parametric and non-parametric statistical methods, including but not limited to univariate and multivariate general linear models, factor analysis, hierarchical linear modeling, structural equation modeling, and logistic regression. Jared is deeply passionate about supporting students in their education goals. His friendly, down-to-earth approach to demystifying statistics and research design encourages student confidence and empowerment in the thesis/dissertation process.