Elizabeth Grant, Centralia College’s director of counseling, advising, and disability services, has successfully defended her dissertation and is now Dr. Elizabeth Grant. She now has a PH.D. in Education with specialization in Higher Education Leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Ariz. Her dissertation is titled “Interactions Associated with Mindfulness Use of Labyrinths in Remediation of First-Year College Students.”
“The focus of my dissertation is on remedial education and how mindfulness practices, such as labyrinth walking, meditation, and Tai Chi can actually help students particularly as they adjust to the demands of college,” Grant explained. “The first year is a challenge for a lot of students and this is especially true for students who must begin their academic careers with pre-college, developmental coursework. Mindfulness practice can help students manage frustrations and stress and reduce the sense of being overwhelmed. Studies more sophisticated than mine have shown that not only can mindfulness practice help with how well the brain functions, it can actually increase brain mass.”
Grant gratefully acknowledges the support she received from professors Joe Burr and Lisa Spitzer to recruit participants for her dissertation research. In addition, she expressed her appreciation for moral support she received from her staff and professors Preston Kiekel and Atara MacNamara.
“Joe and Lisa invited me to speak to their classes while I was recruiting participants. Their kindness enabled me to recruit most of the students who volunteered. Without their help, I wouldn’t have had enough students for my study,” Grant said. “And Preston and Atara buoyed me when I was discouraged. They provided the kind of support and encouragement I try to give to students, only this time it was me who needed the support to achieve my goals.”
Grant comes to Centralia with experience as a clinician, researcher and academic program director. Most recently, she did research with the University of Maryland’s Institute for Governmental Service and Research on projects involving statewide substance abuse initiatives and Maryland Problem-Solving Courts. Prior to that, she was an academic program director at Garrett College in Western Maryland for more than 10 years.
“I scaled a pretty steep learning curve this past year, adjusting to Washington’s quarter system from the semester system with which I was familiar,” Grant expressed. “Everyone has been helpful to teach me about the nuances that make Centralia such a sweet place to learn and work. I am very happy to be here and to work with so many genuinely kind and caring colleagues!”