Anthropology doctorate fulfills long-held dream for graduate
Dianna Repp is fulfilling a long-held dream when she graduates Dec. 17 with her Ph.D. in anthropology.
“The idea of earning a doctorate seemed far-fetched when I was a child,” she says. Her parents, both born during the Great Depression, had limited opportunities for education. Her mother did not go beyond first grade and her father fought in World War II without finishing high school.
“Perhaps because of their own limited opportunities, both of my parents held education in high regard,” says Repp. “When I was in elementary school, my mother went to adult-education classes to learn to read, and asked me to help her learn. She and my father always encouraged me to do my best and instilled a love for education.”
In 1989, when her son was in junior high school, Repp entered college full time. “It was daunting,” she says. “I was an ‘older student,’ often a decade older than my classmates or even my professors.”
Repp thrived on the challenge and was accepted into ASU’s graduate program. She commuted twice a week to ASU from her home in Tucson.
“The challenges were offset by the amazing experience that is graduate school,” she says. “The School of Human Evolution and Social Change has offered opportunities to meet individuals from across the country and around the globe, broadening my horizons in ways I never imagined.”
Her doctoral research documents past and present usages of oral history, particularly in the Doris Duke American Indian Oral History Program. Her research results can be utilized to design culturally appropriate oral history programs.
“I am already utilizing this information in the classes I teach at a local community college,” she says.
Although Repp will be the first member of her family to obtain an advanced degree, she states that she is not graduating alone.
“Standing beside me, in spirit, will be all those who have encouraged me to do my best and supported me with humor and grace,” she says. “I have been blessed with the support and encouragement of family, friends, and excellent teachers and mentors at ASU.”
Michele St. George