Student Spotlight

Julianna M. DeanJulianna 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 research.

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 my goal.

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.


Past Student Spotlight