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Friday, January 24, 2014

A mentor from other side of the world.

In 2006, I was an 18 year old undergraduate student taking Bachelor of Science Major in Educational Psychology. We had our very first research course, which was an Introduction to Research Methods. I don't know what was on my head during those times but I made an attempt to contact a Psychologist who was a professor in University of South Florida. (I don't think twitter and facebook was that popular yet - more so exist)

Lo and behold he replied to me and we had an exchange of e-mails. A distinguished research professor in psychology, in the United States, was replying to a mere undergraduate from far away country and barely even knew what she was doing. In my mind I thought, "Wow, he was sparing his time entertaining me, my requests and my questions." 

I really appreciated him giving me the attention. And because of that encounter, I developed a great deep interest in research while the rest of the class just wanted to breeze through it. Our communication ceased by year 2007. 

Below is a snippet of our conversation. He provided me his instrument that could measure Test Anxiety. 

So embarrasing, look how INFORMAL my e-mail was! :P 

In 2012, I decided to get in touch with him again to tell him the good news that, well.. I graduated undergrad already, informed him about my undergrad thesis and told him we made an instrument (he was known for making scales), and said that I was already taking my masteral program and will be taking another thesis soon. He was helping me think of a thesis topic. (I have never heard of  the word MOOC yet, although I knew about Coursera but I didn't pursue my Coursera classes that time).

He said he was working on anger measures during that time and he said that he would be happy to give me permissions and provide me with any of the measures that they have. I told him I wasn't going to have thesis yet until June 2013.  

Fast forward, its already January 2014.. and I haven't started with thesis yet (Well, I took a hiatus after finishing my course subjects... these things need time, you know ^_^ ..besides, if I didn't take a hiatus I won't probably be working on MOOCs now)

Because of my previous post on taking exams and my test anxieties, I remembered Dr. Charles Spielberger and decided to get in touch with him again to tell him the good news about the progress of my masteral journey and the thesis topic I have decided to work on (i.e. MOOCs)

I went on to twitter, to check maybe he has an account. When I typed his name on the search bar, what I found out was sad sad sad news. Obituaries!! I did not want to believe it at first because it might be a different Charles Spielberger so I had to google again and look if he was the one who worked on the test anxiety inventory (he's more know for the development of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory according to wikipedia). 

What's more alarming to me is that when I went back to check my old e-mails, I told him that I was going to submit my concept paper in June 2013 and HE DIED on JUNE 12, 2013!! 


I CANNOT imagine if I did not take a hiatus on grad school and if we were still exchanging e-mails until that time and then one day I won't receive any e-mails from him anymore only to discover that he's dead. 

I cannot imagine how would I be feeling during that time. Like now, its been months already.. and I still can't believe it. I just had to make a personal blog post dedicating it to him. He was a key person that inspired me where I am today. Why I pursued an academic career. It was a make or break experience during my undergraduate years if I was to embrace research or loath it. And him, sparing a few minutes to reply to my e-mails was a very important part of my school life. 

Anyway, I've said enough. I guess what I'm trying to think now is... I'm going to be more than motivated as I am in pursuing what I'm doing right now. Finally finishing my M.A. Work on my MOOC research (now I have found more mentors from the other side of the world). and eventually further pursue Educational Psychology.

Although I probably should be starting my dedication on reviewing for my exams. :)

Thank you Dr. Charles D. Spielberger. You are such a nice man. Thank you for entertaining a mere undergraduate like me and inspiring me. I never got the chance to meet you. But you will definitely be in my prayers and thesis acknowledgements :) May you rest in peace.


Charles Donald Spielberger, Ph.D. (1927-2013) was a clinical/community psychologist well known for his development of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).
In 1972, as incoming president of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) he appointed the first SEPA Task Force on the Status of Women, chaired by Ellen Kimmel.[1]
Spielberger was founding Editor (1973–76) of the American Journal of Community Psychology,[2] official journal of Division 27 (Community Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He was President of that Division in 1974-75. He won the Division's 1982 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research in Community Psychology. He was president of the APA in 1991.
Spielberger was formerly Chairman of the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida in TampaFlorida and in 2012 belonged to a think tank there.
In 1987 Spielberger was one of the key psychologists who supported the efforts of David Pilon and Scott Mesh in their efforts to form a national graduate student association. Spielberger was very supportive and helpful in this effort along with Ray Fowler, then APA President, Virginia Staudt Sexton (St. John's University), and Pierre Ritchie (Canadian Psychological Association). in 1988 those efforts were successful and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students was formed and in thriving 25 years later with over 30,000 members. SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Spielberger

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