Friday, March 16, 2007

My thanks.

I thought I'd share my acknowledgements with you. I had finished this ages ago, with the occasional teensy edit; my husband has seen it (and cried), but since no one else knows I have a blog, I think it's ok to post it.

I've changed names, and then replaced them with bogus initials, in order to protect the innocent ;-)


Here, in what is arguably the most important part of the thesis, I will follow the traditional verbose format, of our family. In no hard and fast order, I thank those who have held me up and brought me forward these past years.

First, to my mentors, X. and N. By accepting me into the lab, you have shown me what it’s like to be amongst greatness. X. – I am truly honoured to have been part of such a vibrant, exciting research program. N. – you are an exceptional scientist, and an example to women in research.

To all X. lab members, past and present – I thank you for making it such a joy to come to work each and every day. In particular, I have to mention M.A. and B.D. – you both took extra time to make me feel welcome, and you showed me that real people work here.

S., M., and D. – I thank you for keeping the lab running, and also keeping us on the ball. I would not have survived without your help in planning, DNA sequencing, and general lab support. You are all gems.

To A.L. – my fellow grad student, neighbor, and dear friend. I thank you for being there to share in everything non-academic that comes with being a grad student. Sometimes I think we’ve both been given much more to handle than average twenty-somethings, but you’ve always shown impeccable poise and grace.

To M.R. – I thank you for providing an example of the harmony that can be created from teaching, research, student advising, and family life. You encouraged me to follow my own path, and helped give me the tools to clear the way.

To the people who led me to the Uni., and supported my academic aspirations from a very early age - every student has teachers that they mark as central to their development as both students and people, and I am especially blessed in this area.

The late M.E.C. had the dubious task of helping a precocious fourth grader through her first set of challenges (including long division, and the passing of dear Papa), with a kind hand and unwavering love and encouragement. D.B., who treated all of her English students as prodigies, taught me never to suppress my creativity. I know she wanted me to be a writer; this thesis may not be what she had in mind, but I write with my heart because of her.

Finally, the “triumvirate” of my high school – R.C., J.B., and K.D., who taught Chemistry, Physics, and Biology – gave me a great love for the sciences. I cannot chose between them. R.C., who never slows down, keeps me ‘energetically’ inspired, and instilled in me a love of teaching. J.B., whose very first teaching experience involved 15 or so headstrong overachievers, has grown into a distinguished department head. He showed me the importance of patience and respect between student and teacher, which I couldn’t fully understand until I was on the other side of the desk, so to speak. K.D. has left our high school to lead our rivals as principal, but he is directly responsible for my present interest in molecular biology – his first class on DNA transcription and translation stuck with me, and I still refer to his handouts.

And, finally, to my family. I give them my love and thanks in no particular order, because sibling/spousal/parental rivalry is the last thing I want to create.

Big Bro – I had hoped we would end up writing our theses at the same time, and I have to admit that it’s been difficult to be left behind. I thank you for paving the way, and for showing me that it can, indeed, be done. Your time in graduate school was not easy; in fact, it seemed like people were purposely trying to knock you down. You refused to fall, and ended up soaring. L.N. is a lucky woman.

Little Bro – thank you for reminding me what it took for me to get here, and the place I was in not so long ago. We started on the same road, but you had the harder journey. Your perseverance has paid off, and I am so proud of you. You are a shining example of why we should fight for our dreams, but not forget to thank God for unanswered prayers.

Hubby – thank you for being you. We got to know each other as colleagues, then as friends, and now we’re husband and wife. You understand, probably better than anyone, what this expedition has meant, and I could not have done it without your love and support. You are the greatest gift that graduate school has given me.

Grammie – All you’ve known for the past ten years is that we’ve been working hard, and that school keeps us away from home more than you’d like. Thank you for encouraging us to take the time to relax and visit, and for being a constant in our lives.

Mom – thank you for keeping me grounded, and making me realize there’s more to life than academics. You truly are the keystone to our family, and the most difficult of days can be made better just by hearing your voice.

Dad – you often lament how hard work goes unrecognized these days. As students, we pour our blood, sweat, and tears into our education. We try to fulfill the requirements we’re given, and to excel beyond the expected, but the rules inevitably change; you have to sit back and watch as the rug gets pulled out from under our feet. Sometimes it seems like we can never quite get the recognition or reward that we deserve. But we, as your children, know every day how proud you are of us.

That is my reward.

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