On May 2, 2017, I cried twice. The first time I cried was when I presented the introduction to my research study (“The Experiences of Asian Immigrant Women: Journeys into Corporate Leadership”); one that I had been working on for the past eight years of my life. The second time I cried was at the end of my presentation when my dissertation chair said, “Congratulations, Dr. Na” and shook my hand.
Nothing can fully capture the emotions I felt when I heard those words. Much happens during an eight-year span of someone’s life. The moment when I became “Dr. Na” was not just about presenting my research study to my beloved committee; I had solidified a part of my identity as an Asian immigrant woman.
In December 2013, when I said good-bye to my Dad, he asked me to promise him three things: take care of my Mom, live a happy life, and finish my Ph.D. What means more than having the title of “doctor,” is the fact that I kept my promise.
While my Dad is not physically here, he knows what I’ve done and that’s what matters most to me.
Dad, in the Airstream. March 2013, Shasta, California.
Mom & Dad with Butters, Shasta, California.