Amy E. Jetton Alumnae Dissertation Fellow, 1990
I grew up on a farm in rural northwestern Tennessee. My father farmed and was a rural mail carrier while my mother was the high school librarian. I was the youngest of four children born within six years. My parents helped put us all through college, but it was good that I was able to earn academic scholarships. I earned my BS in 1983 and spent 15 months in Australia on an ITT International Fellowship before applying to Northwestern. I began my doctoral studies in Neurobiology and Physiology in fall 1985. During my graduate work, I was supported by a Northwestern University Fellowship, NSF Graduate Fellowship, Northwestern University Teaching Fellowship and finally the Northwestern University Alumnae Dissertation Fellowship. After graduation in spring of 1991 with PhD in Neurobiology & Physiology, I began post-doctoral training and work at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was awarded a National Research Service Award from NIH. In 1994, I began working for Middle Tennessee State University as an assistant professor in the biology department teaching physiology, endocrinology and human anatomy and physiology. In 1999, I earned tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor. During my career I have coauthored 18 papers in national and international publications, advised 7 students to completion of their MS degrees and advised hundreds of students through their undergraduate degrees and application to medical, pharmacy, dental or graduate schools while teaching thousands of undergraduates in biology, nursing and pre-professional programs.
Impact of the Alumnae Fellowship
When I began my doctorate at Northwestern, one of my goals was to eventually become a biology professor. I hoped to return to Tennessee and work in public education to help smart, hard-working young people, just as professors had helped me as an undergraduate. The dissertation fellowship allowed me to continue to work on completing the final steps of my dissertation research as well as writing my dissertation and papers that arose from my research. It freed me from the need to teach or work on top of my studies, as I had done the previous year. The precious time afforded me opened several opportunities. I applied for and interviewed for several postdoctoral positions and jobs resulting in offers. I was also able to be part of additional research projects in my advisor’s lab that led to additional publications. These papers were key to building a curriculum vitae that helped me obtain a university position three years later in 1994. Many of my colleagues had difficulty finding tenure-track positions after their post-doctoral work. There is no doubt that the Dissertation Fellowship was a critical factor in helping my achieve my goal enabling me to teach and advise thousands of young people over the years as they completed degrees and moved on to careers or professional and graduate schools