CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs.Woodward for receiving her doctorate in Biology!


Maria Santoyo, Staff Writer

Dr. Woodward started teaching in 2005 – 2006, this will be her 18th year teaching. She started teaching here in 2017-18.  She currently teaches Earth and Space and Forensic Science.  During the pandemic she decided to pursue her Doctorate in Biology, from what she graduated from this year.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue your doctorate in Biology?

“It was the summer of 2020 when we were on lock down. I’ve always kept myself busy somehow or another. I would either volunteer, and stay after school and do clubs or I was active in my sons boy scout troop when he was in lacrosse. But everything shutdown and I didn’t have anything to do with my mind, and it was driving me crazy. So I looked at my husband one day in June and I said “I’m going to find an online program and I’m going back to school” and he just looked at me and said “ok”. So I found one, and applied, I was accepted, and so I started that journey.”

Q: How long did it take you? – Was it hard?

“It took me three years, to do it. At times there were points where it was hard. It a lot of research and reading, papers and writing papers. When you’re in science, I cant speak for other disciples, I read so many peer reviewed articled and I was doing so much research, I read so much research and I really like research. That was something that I am really good at, and I enjoy reading the articles and that’s one of the main thing that I think took me so long writing papers, is that I would read the article and if I didn’t quite understand I would look in it, look it up and then that would usually lead me to another article. So I was constantly going down these different rabbit holes following the article, gaining information and gaining knowledge, but straying a little bit from my task at hand and I’d have to rein myself in and get back on track. I would catch myself doing that a lot, I’d get a paper and then I’d spend days and hours just researching, other papers, because they would have there cited links, and so I’d click on the hyperlink and it would take me to the article that they got that information from, and well then I’d start reading that article and then I’d see other citations and for me, I enjoyed it because it broadened my knowledge of whatever I was studying at the time. But on the flip side, it delayed me writing my article. I became more knowledgeable but it took longer fro me to do my tasks, which was ok, because it was self paced.”

Q: Do you have any advice for students or other teachers that may want to get a doctorate?

“For me education in general  I really feel that everybody should have some form of education after high school. If you decide a 4 year college is not for you and you really don’t see yourself going to a community college, at least look at a community college and look into their certification programs because any bit of education you get after high school, it can only help you in the long run. I started this journey in 2020 when I was 45, so really, you’re never too old to continue your educational journey.”

Q: When did you get your degree/graduate?

I officially graduated on March 23rd. I defended my thesis during break on December 30th, when I had my teleconference, which was scary, just so you know.”

Q: How was your graduation in Florida?

“Oh my goodness gracious, that graduation, it was awesome. There were people from 47 different countries, and we all were together, I was also able to meet several of my professors and advisors in person and that was great. I was able to network with people that had jobs in areas that were in developing countries, their jobs were in like Secretary of State, and those kind of positions, where they were in a position to help build up their economy and the area. For me talking to them and seeing what they were doing in those kind of situations, it was awesome, I loved hearing their stories when they got up and testified of what they were doing and how they were putting their degree to use.”

Q: Who accompanied you in your graduation?

” I was able to have my husband son be there with me, because without them supporting me, I would not have been able to so this. My husband, oh he is just wonderful, he would cook, clean, take care of Davis. The support of someone that’s there for you makes it a lot easier. I was able to focus on my studies and knowing that everything was being taken care of, by dam, hes wonderful and Davis was so supportive, he’d come and he’d see that I was working and I really think that him seeing me pursue this, I mean, hes saw me with my masters and then now with my doctorate. So I think him being in the house seeing what all I did, it showed him how important education was. I think that gave him a sense of wanting to pursue, and for me as a mom, I thought that was great because that means that, hes doing his homework and hes doing what hes supposed to do in school.”