Newly admitted EdD student Christine Rockey just got some great news from the Graduate School at UNCG – she has been awarded the Hayes Graduate Fellowship to aid with her educational expenses. We caught up with Christine to learn a bit more about her.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am originally from Portland, Oregon and went to Santa Clara University for my undergraduate degree. My degree was in sociology and I worked for three years in the temporary placement industry. I felt like I was missing something so I went back to school after work at a community college. My original plan was to get pre-requisites for medical school. I stumbled upon a degree in wellness from the University of Mississippi and decided I would rather make people feel well than treat them when they were sick. At Ole Miss, I met my husband, Don, who is a college professor (he was a grad student then). We have moved several times as he has grown in his career. We lived in Missouri, Texas, West Virginia and now we live in Conway, SC, just 8 miles from Myrtle Beach and toes in the sand. We have three kids who are 12, 10 and 8 and they are really what I do in my spare time. Their activities include travel and rec baseball, flag football, basketball, boxing, cheerleading and gymnastics. My three personal biggest hobbies are teaching group fitness, running and decorating cakes. I have run 66 marathons, 3 ultras, and countless other races. I have been lucky enough to have actually been the female overall winner of 13 marathons. On many weekends, I give back to the sport, either by coaching groups through the Red Cross Rescue Racers or the Grand Strand Running Club or by pacing races.
Where do you work and what does your job entail?
I am currently an instructor in the Honors Program at Coastal Carolina University. I had worked for more than 15 years in exercise science/health departments. About three years ago, there was an opportunity to teach in the honors program and I decided to make the move. In this position, I get to observe more research and I have a little more flexibility with my hours to help coordinate my kids’ schedules, to volunteer a lot more, and to pursue my EdD.
Why did you choose the EdD Program at UNCG? What are you looking forward to the most?
I graduated with my MS in 1997 and both my mentor and adviser encouraged me to continue schooling. I loved learning and felt so immersed in the field. It truly is my passion. However, I really wanted to let my husband both finish his degree and then pursue his dreams and I wanted to start a family. We thought this opportunity would come sooner but we ended up at a school where there were no PhD or EdD programs and the closest one was too far to pursue with the family obligations. Every so often, I would do a search to see if a new program that made sense to our family emerged. I happened upon the program at UNC-G. It seemed to make perfect sense for my family. Also, my mom was born in NC and my husband went to another school in the UNC system and I had a friend who just went back to UNC-G so I knew it had to be a great place to go.
I am really looking forward to learning again and to researching. While I am currently pursuing a long-term study on using positive psychology in college freshmen, I have had few opportunities to research and learn in my true field that pursues my truest passions. I want to be able to interact daily with people who are just as passionate as I am in the field.
What does being awarded this fellowship mean to you?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me and my family in pursuing my graduate degree was that me pursuing something just because of a passion would take away from the money we could be saving for our kids to go to college. I was considering petitioning my position at work to provide funding for me to get this degree. Having this fellowship truly takes a big majority of the stress off of my family and my dean. I am not sure I have ever felt either this honored or this blessed in a scholarly pursuit. I truly feel humbled by receiving it.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?
I am so honored to become a part of UNC-G and this program. I was excited and proud even before I received the fellowship but now I feel a stronger tie to the university. I am excited to complete the degree and hopefully, be a strong alumni for UNC-G and somehow repay the school for this opportunity.
Congrats Christine!! We are excited for you to become part of the program.