Julianna M. Dean
Pursuing a PhD
has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never climbed one of the
seven summits, but I’ll place earning a PhD up there with scaling
Everest or Kilimanjaro. Determination and fortitude are pre-requisites.
Resiliency is checked often. However, any struggle along the way pales
in comparison to the profound sense of accomplishment in succeeding in
such a task.
My training at The University of Texas
Medical Branch (UTMB) has exposed me to more than I could have ever
imagined, and I am truly grateful. Through my courses and rotations with
diverse faculty I have honed my strengths and discovered new ones.
Since I joined the Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program in Fall 2016, I
have worked with world-renowned burn researchers, learned cutting-edge
techniques in visually analyzing data, and dipped my toes into the vast
world of Medicare data. I have learned to code (and learned I love it!),
presented at conferences around the country, and published original
However, just as climbers make it to the top
with guidance and expertise from veteran sherpas, I made it to where I
am today due to the personal dedication and unwavering commitment of
UTMB professors, students, and staff. With compassion and respect, my
professors and colleagues have gone above and beyond to ensure I reach
So, despite the long days and short nights, the
victories and the valleys, I have made it to the final climb of the
journey. Only now I have much more than I started with: the confidence
to take on any task, the courage to see it through, and a foundation of
hope to pursue the future.