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Doctoral Students Connect, Set Goals at August Residency

Capitol Technology University DSc and PhD students were on campus August 18 through 20 to attend the school’s doctoral residency, held three times each year. Residencies at Capitol are designed to provide an opportunity for students to present research in progress to faculty mentors and receive in-person guidance. They also provide students in the online doctoral programs time to meet and network with fellow members of their cohorts in the Doctor of Cyber Security (DSc) and Management and Decision Sciences (PhD) programs.

For some students, the residency offered confirmation that their projects are on the right track, while others received faculty assistance in resolving issues or questions. 

DSc and PhD students attend at least three residencies at Capitol during the course of their academic journeys. Each residency event serves as a key component of doctoral-level education at the university, with programs designed to provide clear milestones and ensure students do not drift off course or find themselves facing tight deadlines to finish their projects. 

“The residency has a number of purposes,” said Director of Doctoral Programs Dr. Michael Fain. “For the first-year students, the goal is for them to leave with an approved research topic, problem and purpose. For the second and third-year students, we want to make sure they are moving forward with the development of their dissertations.” 

“We also provide the students with a series of workshops intended to augment what they learn in class,” Fain added. “There’s a workshop on how to interact effectively with your dissertation chair, for instance. Another is focused on the dissertation defense process – what to expect, and how to prepare for it.” 

Each attendee at the residency has a turn in the “fishbowl” – a glass-windowed room in which individual students present their projects to assembled faculty. The experience is designed to be supportive, but also formal enough to encourage students to prepare adequately, as they would for a doctoral dissertation defense. 

“The professors are looking to make sure students have identified their topic, problem and purpose in a clear, concise, scholarly manner,” Fain said. 

All participants at the August residency finished their fishbowl experience with good news: their projects had received the green light from faculty. 

“It’s been a very successful residency for this class of students,” Fain concluded. 

To inspire the more than 70 attendees as they began the intensive three-day event, the residency began with a keynote address by one of the nation’s most distinguished advocates of STEM education. Dr. Gwendolyn E. Boyd, who made history as the first African-American woman to earn an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Yale, addressed the need to build human capital in the STEM arena, and called for increased efforts to diversify the STEM workforce in order to reflect changing U.S. demographics. 

Drawing from her own experience, Boyd told doctoral students that persistence and tenacity are key ingredients of a successful journey towards a finished dissertation and degree. 

“As you’re going through your programs, there will be days when you question your own capacity,” Boyd said. “But there will be other days – and these will be more prevalent – that let you know what you’re doing is important, because it is a part of your DNA. You have discovery in you. You love solving problems.” 

“Let those days be your roadmap,” she said. 

Capitol currently offers two doctoral programs. Its DSc program in cybersecurity, launched in 2010, was the first doctoral program in the field. The university is a DHS and NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in cybersecurity.  

In 2015, the university began a PhD program in Management and Decision Sciences. Both the DSc and PhD are online programs tailored to professionals aspiring to leadership roles and high levels of expertise in their fields.

Date: 
Thursday, August 31, 2017