Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Conference Humor

I was so nervous about presenting at my first national research conference. I felt I was terribly “out of my league” and I did not focus on anything except presenting my research paper. I was the first time slot so thought when I finished I would then check out the program book and the other sessions to see what I would attend for the rest of the conference. That is not my typical style. Well, God works in mysterious ways! Had I read the rest of the program, without a doubt, I would have made a change to my presentation. Now I am so glad I didn’t.

Thursday morning in the midst of my presentation regarding my study on incorporating international children’s books, I was sharing the research of another researcher and linking my work to this author’s. Much to my total shock, as I started talking about this researcher’s work, I could see some of the attendees turning around and looking at this one Japanese woman. Immediately it hit me, “That’s Dr. Yokota!” (OK, in all honesty it was, “Oh, shit! That’s got to be Dr. Yokota!”) Oh, I hoped I interpreted and conveyed everything about her work properly. Why do you read and study the work of researchers, but never see what they look like; it would really help in a moment like this. Shoot, shoot, shoot! All of the attendees received my 26 page research paper and of course not only did I discuss her work, but she was listed in my references. And not only was she was the first one at my session, arriving about 20 minutes early, but I observed her actually reading my paper and making notes. Yikes! Nothing like talking about someone and having them show up in your session.

Following my presentation, the reactor took questions. I could see that Junko had her hand up, but the reactor kept overlooking her and calling on other professors. “Whew!” I thought. “I can slip out the door before she confronts me.” Well, well, well….the next thing I knew the very serious Dr. Yokota (again with no smile, just a straight face) brought her laptop and sat down beside me. (Oh, the sweat had to be pouring down my body. I just wanted to disappear. I thought, “What am I doing talking with HER?!” She’s the expert on this topic!”)

Well, she was the absolute sweetest! She praised my work, told me she loved what I was doing, thought I must be a very empathetic person, appreciated my texts selections and she offered suggestions of how critical race theory and/or postcolonial theory may play a role in my future work and she gave me the names of some other authors I should check out as well. WHEW! The only thing she questioned was, “I’m just surprised you cited something I did so long ago; I’ve done so much since then. It’s really interesting because I just got an email yesterday from someone in Europe who cited the same study you did.” I told her I thought it still was very timely and important for teachers to know and understand. Oh, praise God! The pressure was off and I then actually thought of myself as more of a “colleague” instead of “expert” vs. “learner”. God is good!

On Friday, Dr. Yokota was our featured luncheon speaker. She asked the percentage of literature in the USA that is international. Now I don’t typically raise my hand, especially when I feel like I’m “out of my league” like I really am at this conference, but I raised my hand and said, “Less than 2%”. Dr. Yokota said, “Angela is right. She would know this because her field is the same as mine.” (I have “a field”. Someone I respect thinks I’m doing something when I question it myself, YES!) During her presentation she said, “We talked about this in Angela’s session yesterday. It’s the pairing of books.” (I was just hoping my boss boss heard that one!)

This was an excellent first research conference for me to attend – and the location (Sanibel Island, Florida) could not have been any better. Shayla spent an amazing few days enjoying the beach, pool, eating and playing games with her grandparents while I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve really enjoyed all of the research being presented and discussed and to be here with 8 other BGSU professors, including my “boss’s boss” has been a terrific blessing.

It's almost time to fly back to Ohio and to celebrate my graduation. It’s now hours away, no longer years or months! I am so blessed! A long time dream is about to come true - along with a few special things to include Christi I have planned for my big day. God is good!

And to a few BGSU students who I know read this blog - I hope you enjoyed the guest speakers. Andrea told me they were awesome. AND I hope are spending as much time studying for your final exam as you are surfing the Internet. I will be back on campus VERY SOON and the final is six pages in length, 80 questions! (Smile, I miss you and can't wait to tell you about this conference and meeting Dr. Yokota. Be well!)


At 11/12/09 11:43 PM, Blogger Meg said...

I'm so very proud of you Angela! I have been wanting to go back to school (to become a nurse) and I keep telling myself I have too much on my plate right now, and adding school would be too much. You inspire me and I know I can go back!
You ROCK!!

At 12/12/09 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Without evening knowing you, I am so proud of you! Your conference experience sounds fantastic!You are definitely one awesome individual!!

Wishing you all the best with your graduation ceremony and all the parties that will follow. I look forward to reading all about it!
Love to all the Thomas Team

At 12/12/09 3:45 PM, Anonymous Jayme said...

This post actually brought tears to my eyes! I'm delighted to hear about your success and I'm inspired by the passion you bring to your work. I know that in heaven, Christie is beaming with pride at the accomplishments of her amazing mom! Enjoy Florida and good luck at your graduation.

At 12/12/09 6:49 PM, Blogger HeatherB said...

What a great conference experince for you Angela, well after you got over the nerves that is! You are amazing!!

Lots of Love,

At 15/12/09 11:46 AM, Anonymous Jenny S said...

Im so happy for you that you had such an awesome experience at the conference. Back at BG we all knew you would do great! I just have to say that we are blessed to have had you as a professor this semester. By having you in our lives, our lives have forever been blessed and so have the lives of all the students we will have.
I cant wait till I go to a national conference and sit in on your presentation and everyone will be so amazed that I had you as a professor at BGSU.
Thanks for everything.
God Bless.


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