“If it’s your passion, then you can find a way to get it done. It’s all about making the commitment.”
Dr. LaTrea Shine has had a passion for education for most of her life. “My father is very into education and he pushed me to get the highest level of education possible,” she said smiling. So after she finished her four-year degree for Management Information Systems at the University of Georgia in 1997, she immediately went out to pursue and receive her MBA at NC State.
Dr. Shine joined Lenovo in 1997. A few years after finishing her Masters, she started to think about getting her Ph.D. “I have always been interested in IT, ” she said, “So it made sense for me to get my Ph.D. in this field. She wanted to go to campus, but with three kids, it was not a feasible option. So she enrolled at Capella Online University and started the process of obtaining her Ph.D.
It took seven years, a lot of hard work, countless hours at Starbucks, and so much more, but Dr. Shine made it her mission to get the Ph.D. “I had a very supportive manager, ” she said. “It was so helpful because I was able to take time off to review drafts and do the work required to get the degree.” In addition to having the support of her manager, her co-workers were excited as well. IT is a mostly male-dominated career. “It felt like they wanted me to win,” she said, of her co-workers who watched her through the years as she continued to pursue her Ph.D.
I was most impressed with Dr. Shine’s quest to pursue her degree because while this was going on, she was raising three kids. “I had to treat my pursuit of my Ph.D. like a job,” she says. She dedicated a significant part of her evenings and weekends to work on the degree. After picking up her kids and having dinner together, she would head off to Starbucks each night to put in serious work. “The people at Starbucks knew my name and my order,” she laughed. “I was there all the time!”
Her thesis centered on the learning styles of men and women. “I wanted to see the differences in their learning styles and if these differences impacted their leadership styles,” she explained. Through her research, she discovered that, surprisingly, our learning styles were not so drastic that it caused a decline in leadership. I met Dr. Shine at a presentation of her thesis to a group of women in technology and I too was surprised at the results. Women are often criticized for our leadership styles differing from men. Her research proves this is not the case.
Dr. Shine’s quest for education is not complete. She wants to complete more research in her field and hopes to publish a journal within a year. Through all the obstacles standing in her way, Dr. Shine never lost sight of her goal. “If it’s your passion, then you can find a way to get it done,” she says. “It’s all about making the commitment.”
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