Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Summer is coming (hopefully)

My BFF from high school, Alicia was talking about snow in the forecast for where she lives up in the Minneapolis area. We here in Purdue land (aka West Lafayette, Indiana) have been dealing with about 57 degree (F not C) weather and lots and lots of rain. It is almost May, and while summer doesn't officially start until mid June (the 21st to be exact), The weather we are having right now is comfy for me here. I also really enjoy the rain, it was something I missed while living in the desert heat of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson.

But enough about weather.

This summer, I will continue to work at Walmart. Last week I was training for a new position but I think I am going to withdraw my name from consideration from that position. Friday night I may have strained a muscle in my back from climbing a ladder and placing boxes of infant diapers on the top of the back room storage shelves. I have no way of knowing if that were the case, as I woke up the next day feeling like I had been in a major car wreck. I could barely walk or even raise my arms to chest level. I still have a little bit of pain once in a while, but it has subsided for the most part.

Also this summer, I will begin taking my prelim examinations from two of my dissertation committee members. (Dr. Almanza will test me on my research and food safety, while Dr. Nelson will test me on food service industry experience). To do that, I had to register for dissertation credit, of which I am registered for four credits. My third prelim exam will not be until December, as I am taking two statistics courses dealing with linear regression and some of that will be on the third prelim which I am getting from Dr. Jang. After I finish my three prelims, I then have to do my oral prelim, which is where I present my official outline for my dissertation and answer any additional questions my committee might have of me. Once the oral prelim is complete, the clock starts ticking and I have to complete two more semesters of work before I am able to graduate. With all this taken into account, I am planning my graduation for May of 2013.

As for this semester, I won't know my grades for a couple more weeks, unless I can pry the information from my two professors; however, according to my calculations I will be getting a 4.0 this semester.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

End of the Semester, Beginning of a journey

Tomorrow (Monday April 25, 2011) begins the two week march to the official end of the semester for us here at Purdue. I am anxious for the semester to end, but also pensive about the summer, as I have lots of things to accomplish.

This summer, I will begin working on my Prelims which will allow me to move into Dissertation and Candacy mode for graduation. I have three written prelims and one oral prelim. Once all four are completed, I then have to have two semesters of dissertation credit before I can defend my dissertation and apply for graduation. So if I complete all four by the end of the summer, I can graduate in August 2012; however, if I finish all four by the end of fall term, I am eligible to graduate by December of 2012 and so on.

On the work front, I feel like I am doing well. I have been getting trained in a new department, but I think I did something wrong on Friday night, as my back has been killing me since Saturday morning. It is so bad, I can hardly walk or raise my arms much higher than chest level. Thank goodness I have text to speech on my computers or I would not be able to get anything completed.

If all calculations go as planned, I will end the semester with a 4.0 GPA.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Less than a month in the semester left.

I am home sick again tonight (Friday), after coming home sick from work last night (Thursday). I hate being sick, but this does not feel like a flu, but more like something else. I have gone back through what I have eaten over the last week, and have found some sketchy items, but nothings that I can narrow down as being a cause of the symptoms. I am lucky that I know the symptoms that are related to certain food-borne illnesses, I can pretty much narrow down where a possible contamination might have occurred. So far, the only thing I can find is a possible issue with a place that Andrew and I went to eat at on Tuesday night. Of course, if could have been from Tuesday Lunch, as I had something that I had not had in years and it may not have set well with me and ultimately, it could have had something to do with my diabetes. Unfortunately, most illnesses can take anywhere from 8 to 72 hours to even up to and including 7 days for an illness to incubate in a persons digestive tract before symptoms are noticeable. Just for that reason alone, I recommend everyone keep an eating diary so that you can go back at least a week or two of food that has been eaten, in case there is an issue.

It is required that two, non related people be diagnosed by a medical professional in you feel that you have been infected with a food-borne illness. The reason they say two, non-related people, is because almost all home cooking is not done properly and the odds of getting a food borne illness from food cooked at home is greater than getting one from a professional establishment. Remember, it is not impossible to get a food-borne illness from a professional establishment, they just have more regulations to deal with that home cooking does not have to deal with.

Enough with that, time for what I really wanted to talk about, the end of the semester.

After today, we have two more weeks of classes, then dead week, followed by final exams the week of May 2nd.

On Tuesday April 26th, I have a meeting with my committee (Dr. Almanza, Chair; Dr. Nelson, and Dr. Jang; Members) to go over how we will be proceeding with my Prelims, which are defined as "...the determination of the: 1- student’s general understanding of the field, including appropriate theoretical constructs, and how this field fits into concerns of the overall industry; 2- student’s depth of understanding of his/her particular segment of focus within the field; and 3- degree of mastery of the methodological approaches and statistical tools appropriate for the student’s field of concentration."

1. is Food Service (Dr. Nelson)
2. is Food Service Sanitation and handwashing (Dr. Almanza)
3. is Statistics and Methodology (Dr. Jang)

Each professor gets one of those topic areas and asks a series of several questions in which I must answer within a certain time frame, lets say two weeks.

I will be doing parts one and two over the summer with Dr. Almanza and Dr. Nelson; However, since I am registered for two more statistics courses for Fall 2011, the third part which involves statistical tools will be done during that semester. Finally, in last Fall 2011, I will have my Oral examination. It is kind of like the pre-conference I had with my masters committee, where they agreed to my choice and methods of research. It helps when it comes down to final examination and defense when a committee member asks "what about this" and the advisor says "why didn't you ask that during the oral exam?"

I have received financial aid for the summer, but am only taking one, 1 credit class as I am still considered out of state. My request for in-state tuition is still being processed and I should have an answer shortly. If I am denied, I will appeal the decision. That class is 1 credit dissertation. It feels so strange to type and read. I am getting down to the wire. After I complete the oral exam, I have a two semester minimum wait until I am able to graduate. So that will include Spring 2012 & Summer 2012. The earliest I can graduate is December 2012; however I am giving myself an extra semester to ensure I have a perfect dissertation, so I am shooting for May of 2013.I hope that I can get extra tickets for those that really want to come visit me during this prestigious time in my life. Since both my parents are deceased, I would like my sister to be able to attend with a few of her children, but I also have friends from around the country that I was to invite as well. Even if someone doesn't get to see me walk across the stage and get hooded by my committee advisor, I would still like to have friends here in town for the part afterwards. If you are reading this, and would like to be included in any extra tickets I may have or just for the party afterwards, please let me know.

I am currently working on about 5 research projects at the moment. putting finishing touches on the gaming chip study, making calls on the festival food competition study, waiting for a custom computer program to be written especially for me by my boyfriend Andrew, to help determine handwashing effectiveness with glo-germ, black-light, and a computer, I will them be Creating a survey of health inspectors inside and outside areas that have festival food competitions to determine their responses to the findings of the other 2 studies (not gaming chips), and a marketing strategy internal branding for the new "School of HTM" within the NEW Department of Health & Human Sciences. It is a class project, for a 600 level class which is like a UNLV 700 level class, where our results will actually be published, so I have been very busy.

My two classes I am taking right now have been very fun. I especially like learning how to use AutoCAD in designing a restaurant concept for facility design, and the use of focus groups and interviews along with surveys for the marketing class. I think I have started to annoy Dr. Nelson with my constant finding of errors or omissions in homework or assignments. But he did ask two special favors of me recently, one was to proctor an exam for him, and the other was to attend a presentation being arranged by the dean of the college. The first one was easy, the second may be a little harder as I generally work on Thursday Night, so the time of the event is during my normal sleep cycle, so I would need permission from Dr. Sydnor-Bousso to skip her class so that I can sleep later into the afternoon and then go to the presentation before work. Or I could contact work and tell them that I am needed at school for an emergency. Not sure how that will work, but we shall see what my options are.

When I had my meeting with my advisor (Dr. Almanza), we were talking about my schedule and stuff, then she told me that my name was being considered for an assistantship next semester. The fact that she brought up the subject was extremely surprising. She even gave me details about what the job would entail, which leads me to believe it is all but a done deal, which makes me really happy. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE working for Walmart. Just having a BS I have more degrees than almost everyone else in the entire building. You have to have at least a BS to move into management. So my MS is overkill, and the fact that I am working on my PhD I think actually scares them a little. They have difficulty talking to me. Like one day, the manager was trying to explain something to me, when she said 'hold on, I almost forgot who I was talking to" She then proceeded to use bigger polysyllabic words to help me understand what she was saying. Then she said, "you are the only one that I have ever had to reverse the process of dumbing down things that I tell employees. Apparently if she tries to explain something two simply to me I get confused. She has to try and bring it up to a higher level than for other people. At first I thought she was being rude, but then she said "we have never had anyone as smart as you working here as just an associate." She also told me that right now I have more college experience than the store or market manager. I are proud.

If I get the assistantship, it will start in Fall and I will have to put notice in for Wal-Mart, which I will miss. But I may still work one day a week, if they want me. Of course that also depends on how Andrew feels about this. we barely get to spend any time together now due to my schedule at 'Walmart. We are hoping that the summer will be much easier to be together.

Finally, as a side not, check this out, I made a web-presence on Purdue, kinda like the site I had a UNLV, but Purdue colors and stuff. Take a look: