It’s Okay, I’m a Doctor

Well folks, it’s done! Last month, I successfully defended my dissertation, and the experience was way more fun than I had expected it to be. Last week, I finished the minor revisions requested by my committee and submitted the final version of the dissertation to the Graduate College (final deposit is anticlimactic, despite its finality). And my defense committee and university administrators have now signed off on that final version! My dissertation has joined the queue of theses waiting to be delivered to ProQuest, where it will be available to the scholarly community. It’s been a very surreal few weeks, but I’m starting to settle into being Dr. Hales-Brittain.

Doctorate degrees are a lot of hard work and perseverance on the part of the individual, but they also require an enormous amount of support. Of course there are many, many people who have supported and encouraged me in this process over the years, who have celebrated my wins, given me advice, plied me with alcohol, and let me vent — too many to possibly name. I did have the opportunity to name a few of the key people who have been most vital to my success in the acknowledgements of my dissertation, but since probably only 12 people in the world will ever read my dissertation, I’ve copied my acknowledgements here so that I can give those people the recognition and thanks they truly deserve:


Despite writing 95% of this dissertation during the semi-lockdown of COVID-19, I did not write this in a vacuum. I wish to thank a few of the many people who helped me get here.

First, my dissertation committee. Countless thanks are due to my advisor, Craig Gibson, whose support, advice, insight, and good humor made this dissertation possible. Aldo Tagliabue generously read and offered comments on the first pages I wrote for this dissertation, which proved invaluable and shaped my thinking moving forward. Brenda Longfellow’s course Art of the Ancient Roman Empire inspired me to look closely at depictions of women. Rob Ketterer and Paul Dilley have supported my endeavors both inside and outside the Classics department in material ways and now serve as wise and helpful committee members.

Lindsay Vella, our department administrator, has saved my bacon many times by making sure that my sundry university paperwork requirements were completed and submitted on time. The librarians at the University of Iowa and the College of William and Mary have put up with my excessive demands on the Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery system: without them, my reference section would be less than half its length.

Echo Smith and Ed Keogh are the truest friends and the most supportive comrades-in-PhD-ing I could ever ask for. There is no question that I would not have made it here without them. SEE Cohort forever! 

My parents David and Nancy, my husband Morgan, my in-laws Austin and Karen, and my best friends Youmna and Laura have put up with my extreme stress and crankiness over the last several years, and I am endlessly grateful for their support and love. And finally, thanks to Fitz, my dog, who came into my life as I was writing the prospectus for this dissertation and who “supervised” nearly every hour of work over the past two years. I love you all.

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