Ph.Done!! – The End of My Ph.D. Journey

PhD Journey Natural Chica 2

"Dr. Maeling ..." it seemed surreal as I heard my name being called as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma that conferred upon me a doctorate of philosophy in materials science and engineering. The end of my Ph.D. last! You see, my Ph.D. journey began in the fall of 2008 and to say that my experience was filled with lessons of faith, patience and perseverance, couldn't begin to fully describe what an emotional and mental roller coaster I had been on for the past 7 years. So you can imagine how thankful and overjoyed I was during my graduation festivities that day! Not only did I have my parents, grandma and husband there to celebrate, but my baby boy joined in too (although he was fast asleep as his mommy walked across the stage lol). I also want to thank many of you who are reading this, since the online support I received along the way was tremendous! Many of you know that my blogging journey also started with my Ph.D. journey, so most of you have been there cheering me on as I've shared the various milestones in my academic path and for that I'm so grateful.

 Ph.D. Journey Natural Chica

Some of you were wondering how I was going to wear my hair for graduation and I must tell you that my go-to twist out was the style for the day using Shea Moisture's Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) styling lotion (see my review on the entire JBCO collection here)!
 As I mentioned a while ago on YouTube, I really would like to start a new channel (trying to think of a good name!) that showcases all things STEM-related (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) and also get into the details of my engineering academic experiences in the hopes that it can help inform and encourage others out there in their academic pursuits! I've already started receiving STEM-related questions from my Natural Chica peeps out there and I can't wait to get into them as soon as I get my new mommy routine a little bit more ironed out 🙂 In the meantime, if you're working in a STEM career or pursuing a STEM degree, I would love to connect with you! Feel free to write a quick note telling me about your career or academic pursuits and send it to me at with the subject "STEM connect". I look forward to hearing from you!Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 
Tags: #BlackSTEM, african american Ph.D., black Ph.D., black women in STEM, blacks in engineering, grad school, materials science and engineering, natural chica Ph.D., Ph.D., Ph.D. encouragement, Ph.D. journey, Ph.D. success stories, STEM, women of color in STEM, women of color Ph.D.

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    • Sabrina
    • June 5, 2015

    Congrats Mae a job WELL DONE!!!

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      Thanks so much Sabrina!

  1. Congrats Mae! That is quite an accomplishment

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      Thank you Jackie 🙂

    • Salihah Dick-Sere
    • June 5, 2015

    CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Mae!!! All kudos to you on reaping the fruits of your patience, determination, hard work, and sacrifice(s). Victory is sweet and my best wishes to you for a fulfilling and prolific career 🙂

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      I appreciate the kind words! Thank you so much Salihah!

    • April
    • June 6, 2015

    Congratulations!!! It is well deserved and I hope you continue to do great things…for the natural hair community and STEM.

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      Thank you April!

  2. Congratulations! You are an inspiration; thank you for sharing your journey.

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      Thank you 😀

    • Kgchrissy
    • June 6, 2015

    Congratulations! You so deserve it. I just have 2 questions:
    1. How did you maintain funding for 7 yrs? Most programs that I’ve seen only do a max of 4-5 yrs for funding.
    2. Do you consider the social sciences to be a part of STEM? I’ve heard a lot of people referring to STEM as STEMS to include the social sciences, but we still do not receive close to the same amount of recognition or respect that true STEM majors/professionals do.

      • Mae
      • June 7, 2015

      Thanks!! To answer your questions:
      1. I had several fellowships that I applied for and was granted throughout the years along with departmental funding
      2. That’s a great question that I’ve never applied much thought to. I know that traditionally, it has not been grouped with the STEM disciplines but it’s certainly something I will look into further

    • Mia
    • June 8, 2015

    Congratulations Mae 🙂 a job well done!!!! Congratulations on becoming a mommy as well. A lot to celebrate this year ☺️. Lovely lipstick…what kind is it (if you don’t mind me asking)

      • Mae
      • June 9, 2015

      Thank you! It’s a natural lipstick by Mineral Fusion (in Tempting) –

  3. Mae, I’m so happy to hear you have completed your degree. I know you are thrilled at being done with it all and now I can refer to you as Dr. Natural Chica!! Hooray!! Congrats on your baby boy as well. May peace and positivity continue to envelope you with God’s love,

    • Flangela
    • June 9, 2015

    Mae I would like to join in with my CONGRATULATIONS to you for your outstanding accomplishments!!!!!

    • Monique
    • June 9, 2015

    Congratulations! I’m sure it was quite the journey but you endured and you completed it!!!! What an accomplishment!!!!

  4. Mae, congratulations on this huge milestone. Quite a year you’re having! 🙂 I am rejoicing with you!

      • Mae
      • June 19, 2015

      Thanks so much Fleurzty!! 🙂

    • STEM DR in the Making
    • June 19, 2015

    SO PROUD OF YOU! Congrats for setting a goal and meeting it 🙂

    BLACK WOMEN IN STEM~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • K. Sutton
    • June 22, 2015


    • ffinallyfreeatlast
    • June 24, 2015

    I have followed you since 2009. I think you are beautiful, inside and out. Congratulations on everything!!!! Where did you earned your degree?

    • Terese
    • June 30, 2015

    Congratulations!!! Had no idea you were studying in this field. Did you also pursue your first degree and masters in Engineering?

      • Mae
      • July 2, 2015

      Thanks! Yes, my B.S. was also in Materials Science and Engineering. My program was B.S. straight to Ph.D. No Master’s in between.

    • Pamela
    • July 1, 2015


    • Camilla Belfon
    • October 4, 2015

    Sorry this is belated, but congratulations on your graduation!! Thanks for sharing this. I am in year 3 of a PhD program. I took a year off after giving birth to twins last year. It has been quite an emotional ride. BTW, I love what you’ve been doing to your hair. It’s hard keeping up with it all with house, babies, husband, PhD, and natural hair to care for.

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