Monday Musing - Dr. Allison Poss, I like the sound of that.

Last Friday I defended my dissertation which means  . . . . . now I am Dr. Allison Poss!

What is a defense? The defense was essentially my final oral exam for my doctorate program. I presented my dissertation and its findings, and then my committee and the other professors who attended asked me questions. After the presentation everyone left the room and my committee members discussed what I need to do more of and if I passed. My committee called me back in, told me a few minor things that they wanted me to add/change with my paper and then, the best part, they announced me as Dr. Poss to my parents who came to hear my defense.

I was so nervous for my defense that I made myself physically sick for the three days leading up to it. Despite my anxiety and how worked up I got, the actual presentation ended up being very fun for me. I got to talk about my research which I am very passionate about, I loved sharing what I worked on. It was really cool to have the support of all the faculty in my program and my parents who came to listen and were interested in the work I did. One of the many things this program gave me was helping me discover my passion for creativity research which I am so grateful for. 

Below is a photo of me right after my defense, with two of committee members, and with the gift my advisor presented me. 

In the dissertation there is a page of acknowledgements - I thought I would share the page of acknowledgements I wrote because I am so thankful for all of the support I have received. 


            I would first like to acknowledge my husband Bennett Poss, M.D. for supporting my decision to pursue my doctoral degree. From editing my papers, to discussing readings, to being a soundboard for my big ideas, Bennett has always taken an interest in my work, seeing the value in it. I would also like to acknowledge the support of my family: my father Kent McCuddin, my mother Barb McCuddin, and my sister Britni McCuddin. They are all creative beings and always have modeled how to think differently. My dog Pax has always been great company on late nights of studying.

         I would like to acknowledge all of the professors I have had along the way who encouraged my curiosity and exposed me to new things. Namely, I would like to acknowledge Lisa Kelly-Vance, Ph.D. and Brian McKevitt Ph.D. who always supported my ideas and my sometimes different approach to academia. They taught me the value of research and importance of applying research to the world in a meaningful way.

            I would like to acknowledge my committee members Wayne Young, Ph.D. and Roni Reiter-Palmon, Ph.D. I am thankful for their time and vested interested in my topic. I am honored that such intelligent thinkers provided me with guidance. I would especially like to acknowledge my dissertation advisor, Isabelle Cherney, Ph.D. Not only did she create the program which I will be eternally grateful for, she has role modeled how to be a continual learner, and greatly influenced my academic career.

            Lastly, I would like to thank all of the coffee shops that I studied at over the years.  They provided me with a creative space and a good cup coffee that allowed me to do my best thinking.

It feels good -so good that I have been doing the following since I got back in town last night - 


Monday Musing - Turning Potential Energy into Kinetic Energy

I have been in my own little world the last two weeks which has consisted of me laying on the couch with my laptop and writing my dissertation. The whole polar vortex thing happened which just encouraged me staying in and letting the rest of my life go. Our house currently consists only of piles of things. Our furnace broke (now fixed), our garage door broke (now fixed), our new microwave broke (maybe fixed?). I probably owe you a phone call and an email, I realize this. Tonight, Bennett and I ate ice cream for dinner. You get the idea. 

But it all paid off because I finally submitted a rough draft of my dissertation! It will need to go through many rounds of revisions but it feels amazing to have all my ideas out and on one document that is my dissertation. Whoa.

Last night was the Season 3 premiere of my favorite TV Show, GIRLS. The one thing I did manage to do last week was re-subscribe to HBO to make sure I could watch it. In honor of GIRLS being back, this week I am musing about one of my favorite quotes from the show. While giving a motivational speech, the character Ray, tells Marnie to turn her potential energy into kinetic energy. I have built up a lot of potential energy over the last two weeks from sitting on the couch writing and am ready to turn that into kinetic energy this week and catch up on life.

One of the first things I did with all my energy today was start to clean out my email. A tool that helped me was unroll.me. This is a website where you can enter your email and it will list all of the email lists you are currently subscribed too. You can choose to unsubscribe through the website, keep the emails coming, or rollup the emails from that listserve into one rollup email (For Blog people this is similar to Bloglovin for any email subscription, but now my Bloglovin is in rollup- mind blown). I am a huge fan of using filters and folders on my email but this is amazing. I had subscriptions to over 200 businesses and it felt good to unsubscribe to many that I don't need anymore. I also love getting a daily email with all of the ones I would like to actually see combined; if feels much less overwhelming. You can also go to the website and view the emails from different days and in categories and also change your choices for subscriptions at any time. Highly recommended and it's free!

Documenting the Days - My Dissertation Tour

I probably owe you a phone call, email, or text. I am behind on life because I have been traveling the past few weeks to collect all of my dissertation data. But I am happy to say that it is all collected! Now I just have to figure out what it all means . . .

Here is a recap of my trip with my trusty Sony Recorder that I used to record all of my interviews. I made the trip as fun as possible by stopping to see friends and family along the way. Even though the trip was work, it was a much needed break for me  and I had a blast meeting up with my friends and family and enjoying city life for a few days.


I started my dissertation tour in Omaha two weeks ago. I drove there on a Sunday, interviewed people all day Monday then drove back Monday night. Although I was only there two days I fit in interviewing people at two different firms and a freelancer, met up with friends, and managed to fit in some shopping. I took my Iowa City friend, Justine with me to show her Omaha and some of my favorite Omaha boutiques and restaurants like Dixie Quicks, Aroma's and M's Pub (get the carrot dog if you ever go!). I also took her to the  Benson area, my favorite, where we discovered the new Benson Brewery which was really impressive. I loved the interviews I conducted there - I got some great quotes and information and it was fun showing Justine my old stomping grounds. It made me wonder why I was so excited to move away  . . .


I went to the Chicago suburbs last Thursday night and interviewed all day Friday at an advertising firm. My dad was in town for work so I got to spend time with him which was great. After the interviews, I drove to a nearby suburb where my friends from high school Jacey and Lee just moved to. I got to see their new place which included a beautiful wood table they made themselves! I crashed there and then headed into the city Saturday morning to spend day in Lincoln Park with my friend Britney who just had surgery on her shoulder. We spent the day shopping and made appointments to get our  eyebrows waxed at Benefit (something that I terribly miss - Benefit Brow Bars!). I could not bring myself to leave Chicago at a reasonable time because I was having so much fun but I managed to get back to Iowa City around 2:00am on Saturday night.

Kansas City

I woke up early on Sunday and drove to Des Moines to have brunch with two of my  School Psych friends Jess and Julie. We spent a long time catching up and laughing as usual.

I drove on to Kansas City on Sunday where I met up with my dad and we stayed with my sister who lives there with her dog Otis. I interviewed people at one firm all day Monday and then another firm all day Tuesday. Both firms were very welcoming and I got some interesting data.  It was nice to spend time with my sister and also got to meet up with one of my close friends Betsy who lives in the area. I stayed in KC until late Wednesday where I went to many of the places I miss/love especially Whole Foods & Dean and DeLuca where I did my Thanksgiving dinner shopping. As I was driving home from Kansas City, I couldn't help myself from crying for a good hour because I knew I was headed back to Iowa City. While I am doing my best to learn to love it here, I just miss so much about living in a larger city but am glad I could take a few days off to get a taste of it and be productive at the same time.

Here's to data analysis consuming my December!