For Dr. Teri Gadd, earning her doctorate took additional grit, determination, and community. The former she found within herself. The latter she found through CSU Writes.

Teri Gadd set her mind to attaining a Ph.D. in horticulture and landscape architecture fourteen years ago. The process took time away from family, and perseverance through unseen obstacles and pleasures. She researched the interaction between tree stress physiology of lodgepole pine and behavior of mountain pine beetle.

Her mastery of entomology and plant-tree physiology is extensive, Teri faced sharp learning curves from the start her PhD journey. For example, Teri has ADHD, so it takes longer for her to write and focus, and it can be difficult for her to move from thought formation, to speech, to getting that idea down on paper.

While things like literature reviews and the politics of higher education took additional time for Teri to understand and navigate, her learning disabilities meant another layer of time and effort were applied to her work. Many of her peers did not understand or share that experience.

CSU Writes provided Teri a richly supportive community to engage with and teach her things that everyone else seemed to know.

“Every single grad student, myself included, needs to know they are not the only ones struggling in this process…[CSU Writes programming] would’ve been a game changer for me earlier in my earlier graduate career so I could ask questions and get answers and not feel like I crawled out from under a rock,” Teri said recently in conversation with CSU Writes Director Kristina Quynn.

CSU Writes facilitated Teri’s research writing in a variety of ways, the core of its utility was in meeting Teri where she was at. It wasn’t that she couldn’t write or didn’t understand what she was learning, pursuing a PhD was just a new experience that didn’t come with instructions.

“I learned through all the different CSU Writes workshops how to edit, I learned how to write fast, I learned how to structure my writing schedule and all that because I had been a binge writer and it was such a huge effort and waste of time to overcome how much I had forgotten…like taking little notes so I can pick back up…it saved me hours.”

For Teri, the value of CSU Writes cannot be overstated. “CSU Writes was my lifeline…it gave me hope and structure. Just the things I was taught at each retreat, the one-on-one sessions…just talking with other students who are having the same struggles buoyed me up and I started to have hope.”

Now, Teri runs her own business where she’s “helping and doing” and using her research every day. We celebrate Teri’s accomplishments and express our gratitude that she wished to share her story of success with other CSU research and scholarly writers.

If you or a colleague seek a community of experts or becoming-experts to move your research writing forward, reach out to CSU Writes. We are here when you need us.